Editor’s note: One of the defendants, Mr Tariq Khan, contacted us in July 2020 to emphasise that he had never been charged with fraud and was subsequently acquitted of money laundering. However, he admitted and was jailed for eight months for perverting the course of justice by supplying the police with false information.

Fifteen people have appeared in court after an inquiry into an alleged £12 million fraud against public and private bodies, including NHS trusts and the government of Guernsey.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the so-called "divert fraud" was alleged to have been committed against mainly public bodies between January 2011 and July 2012.

It is alleged that the organisations were contacted by people masquerading as legitimate construction companies, who then provided false bank details for payments.

Clare Tripcony, specialist fraud prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, told Lincoln Magistrates' Court there were 12 alleged diverts bringing in £12 million.

She said seven further organisations were allegedly targeted which could have brought the total suspected fraud to £15 million if successful.

Nine of the 15 people have been charged with conspiracy to defraud between January 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012.

They are Oluwatoyin Allison, 48, of Voysey Square, Bow, London; Arif Habib, 54, of Whitehill Road, Glasgow; Asif Habib, 51, from Al Barsha, Dubai; Imtiaz Khoda, 42, of Dallas Road, Lancaster; Ali Akbar, 31, of Lineholt Close, Redditch; James Eman, 33, also of Lineholt Close, Redditch; Kalpesh Patel, 43, from Dubai; Monica Thomson, 38, of Ivy Way, Airdrie in Scotland, and Stephen Tyndale, 45, of Albany Road, Southwark, London.

The defendants and a further five people have also been charged with conspiracy to launder criminal property between the same period.

The further defendants are Abdul Ghaffar, 66, of Lineholt Close, Redditch; Tariq Khan, 33, of Meadway, Ilford; Zahid Muhammed, 46, of Tinto Road, Glasgow; Shazia Nisa, 33, from the West Midlands, and Yagnesh Patel, 44, of Rookery Road, Staines-upon-Thames.

A 15th defendant, Oghogho Ehanire, 41, of Brackenbury Road, Preston, was charged with one offence of entering into an arrangement to launder criminal property and did not enter a plea.

All 15 defendants were bailed and will next appear at Lincoln Crown Court on September 18.