A BRADFORD couple arrested trying to leave the country with a car full of cash from an eBay scam told a court they would “stand up only for God.”
The judge sentencing Oliver Petereit and his wife Raheela Begum for fraud said he respected their religious convictions and was sure they would both be “sitting down with shame” in the dock. The couple, of Welbeck Drive, Great Horton, Bradford, each pleaded guilty to giving false information to obtain a credit card. Petereit also admitted pocketing £2,110 from an eBay scam in which he sold goods that did not exist, including phones, laptop computers and jet printers, in June and July last year.
Prosecutor Chloe Hudson said the couple, who have three children, were originally the subject of a terrorism investigation.
Their home was searched in March 2015 and a computer seized. Although nothing came of that enquiry, Petereit, 36, had falsely claimed to be a field manager earning £30,000 a year in a bid to obtain a credit card. Begum, 33, had made a similar dishonest application. On July 10 last year, the couple were arrested at Folkestone with a car full of clothes and £3,076 in cash. Miss Hudson said they were travelling to Germany to visit family. Police were by then investigating complaints from eBay customers who had paid Petereit for goods they had not received.
The court heard he had a caution for an offence of dishonesty and his wife was of previous good character. Petereit’s barrister, Hugh Barton, told Judge Jonathan Rose that his client would not be standing up in court. Mr Barton said: “Because of his religious convictions, he will only stand for God, and his wife is the same.”
He said the couple meant no disrespect. Cash seized would be used to compensate eBay customers who had lost out. Judge Rose did not order the couple to stand in the dock to be sentenced, and told them: “I am sure you are both sitting down with shame.”