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Croydon fraudster Neelam Desai's confiscation hearing delayed

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VICTIMS of a fraudster's holiday scams will have to wait longer to learn whether they will get any of their money back.

Neelam Desai, 34, was jailed for 30 months in May for ripping off customers of her discount travel business.

They were offered cheap flights and trips but, when the deals fell through, Desai tried to pay them back by borrowing huge sums of cash and writing fraudulent cheques from her mother's account. 

After she was jailed, the Crown Prosecution Services started confiscation proceedings against her to determine whether she has assets that could be used to repay her victims. 

A date for the confiscation hearing was due to be set today (Friday) but a judge at Croydon Crown Court heard the police had yet to start the process because the officer in charge of the case had been "particularly busy". 

Judge Stephen Waller excused the delay as "slippages" in confiscation hearings are common because the matters are usually "very complicated". 

He added: "I can hardly think of any confiscation hearing I've been involved in where there has not been a slippage on one side or the other."

Desai, of Beulah Grove, Selhurst, was present in court for the hearing, which lasted just a few minutes.

Abigail Penny, her barrister, said Desai had been "progressing well" in prison. 

The confiscation proceedings will next come before the court on October 10.

Desai was sentenced to 27 months after pleading guilty to four counts of fraud, three of handling stolen goods and one of doing business while bankrupt. She was handed a further three months for breaching a suspended sentence. 

The former travel agent and classroom assistant is currently on police bail after being arrested on suspicion of ten counts of fraud by false representation following an investigation by the Advertiser into a series of dating website scams. 

Croydon fraudster Neelam Desai's confiscation hearing delayed


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