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Trio in cahoots with conman are spared jail term

PUBLISHED: 12:24 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:07 23 August 2010

THREE women who helped a charming and manipulative bankrupt set up a secret pawnbroking business dealing in designer jewellery have been spared jail.  Playboy Abdallah Mahfooth, 35, used the three women as a front to run his business in Mayfair, which e

THREE women who helped a 'charming and manipulative' bankrupt set up a secret pawnbroking business dealing in designer jewellery have been spared jail.

Playboy Abdallah Mahfooth, 35, used the three women as a front to run his business in Mayfair, which earned him £600,000 in just a year, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Mahfooth, who is serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence, convinced shop assistant Salwa Hamid, of Gouge Avenue, Northfleet, to manage the business whilst he 'flitted in and out living the high life'.

Former model Tammy Witham, saw £50,000 poured into bank accounts she set up in her name which were used solely by the conman.

Hamid, 31 and Witham, 34, giggled and smiled as they were handed nine month prison sentences suspended for two years last Friday. They were also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.

His girlfriend, Johanna Thomas, 30, apparently had no idea of Mahfooth's debts until he broke it to her over an expensive meal in a London restaurant.

Judge Michael Gledhill QC said: "Each of you, when you aided and abetted Mahfooth knew at some stage between September 2007 and September 2008 that he was an undisclosed bankrupt.

"In your case, Johann Thomas, he abused you. It was quite clear that you loved him, he didn't love you, you were just another plaything in his lifestyle.

"You were all in the thrall of Mahfooth.

"The fact of the matter is he is an extremely charming, courteous, intelligent man who is good company and the three of you were more than happy to be associated with him and reap the benefits."

Judge Gledhill took pity on Thomas and gave her a five month sentence suspended for two years and 120 hours of unpaid work.

Mahfooth dealt primarily in Cartier and Rolex watches and spent thousands on credit cards in his friends' names dining at trendy London restaurants and holidaying in Dubai and Spain.

He has gone bust four times and has never filled out a tax return or registered for VAT. But he was caught when police stopped him driving an expensive car while wearing high value watches on both wrists and was arrested on suspicion of stolen goods.

Police raids uncovered £1.4 million worth of watches and £170,000 worth of jewellery were seized by police.

Mahfooth, of Mayfair, London, pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading between September 4, 2007 and September 11, 2008.

Hamid and Witham, from Clapham, London and Thomas, from Battersea, all admitted acting in the management of a company whilst disqualified by reason of bankruptcy by aiding and abetting Mahfooth.

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