Scammer who pretended to have terminal cancer while living ‘lavish lifestyle’ in Virginia Water jailed

Scammer who pretended to have terminal cancer while living ‘lavish lifestyle’ in Virginia Water jailed

A banker who pretended to have terminal cancer and forged medical documents to scam insurance companies out of £1.2 million has been jailed. Rajesh Ghedia, 42, also pretended to be the vice president of the Bank of America and scammed seven victims, including his own cousin and a dad he met on the school run, out of £600,000.

The scams, which date back to 2016, came to light when one of his victims contacted the bank and was told their investment did not exist. Ghedia, who did work at the Bank of America but as Program Lead in the Global Technology and Operations department, was then interviewed by police in August 2020. Despite this he went on to fake having terminal pancreatic cancer that would kill him within a year to take money from his pension and claim on his life insurance.

His sentencing hearing heard he lived a “lavish lifestyle”, driving “high-value” cars and living in a mansion in the exclusive Virginia Water neighborhood in Surrey, where he privately educated his children. Ghedia, of Maidenhead, in Berkshire, admitted 22 counts of fraud relating to fake investments and eight counts relating to the cancer scam.

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Jailing him for six years and nine months, Judge Deborah Taylor said: “You preyed on those who became close to you. All said what devastation you caused them. You showed a total disregard of their life, health and reputation. All have been left scarred by the encounters with you and they thought you were their friend and helping them.”

Southwark Crown Court heard Ghedia convinced seven victims to invest just over £600,000 in products at the Bank of America and Goldman Sachs between 2016 and 2020. Jack Talbot, prosecuting, said the victims were told they could double or triple their money over a short period or time. Saeeda Ahmed, the wife of Ghedia’s regular taxi driver, lost over £100,000 and the couple had to sell their home after borrowing £70,000 to pay bogus taxes Ghedia invented to siphon more money from them.

The court heard when Mrs Ahmed went to confront Ghedia over not receiving any payments, Ghedia invented a car crash in the US that had left his daughter in hospital. When she came to see him again, he told her his daughter had died, the court heard. Other victims included his cousin Vipul Chandelgra who was defrauded of £63,491, Per Selbekk, a dad he met through his children’s school, of £116,664, and Wayne Johncock, a man he met at a neighborhood party, of £181,599.

The court heard Ghedia then defrauded Legal and General and his pension schemes between October 2020 and May last year. It was said he forged medical documents and letters diagnosing him with terminal cancer purporting to be from Dr Nick Maisey, a consultant oncologist at a private hospital in central London.

He also forged documents from a doctor at the Royal Marsden and another at Great Portland Street. As the doctors were listed on the General Medical Council register, the funds were released. Ghedia successfully claimed the money and then tried to take out a new life insurance policy with Aviva for over £900,000 claiming he was not receiving any treatment at all.

These frauds came to light when he stopped paying his mortgage and an investigator found he had “tripped up” and wrote a different date of diagnosis on one of his letters. Judge Taylor said: “You used the names and reputations of doctors who were totally unaware of your involvement in this and that their name was being used without regard to their professional standing or reputation.

“This was after you had been arrested and interviewed in relation to the investment fraud. You failed to respond to the warnings by the interviews in relation to previous offenses about your behavior. You ruthlessly traded on the doctors’ reputation and standing to support your fraud .”

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