Thieving Haringey Council officer jailed for stealing £440,000 meant for the disabled
PUBLISHED: 17:47 03 December 2015 | UPDATED: 17:47 03 December 2015
A thieving Haringey Council finance officer funded her lavish wedding from stealing more than £440,000 from her employers.
The cash was intended to provide care for disabled people.
Today Ceyda Elkatme, 34, was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
She and husband Jihad, 34, paid off their mortgage and spend thousands renovating and extending their Waltham Cross home.
Southwark Crown Court heard none of the money was left.
The judge, Mr Recorder Benedict Kelleher, said: “Your offence was disgraceful and prolonged fraud aggravated by the fact it was a gross abuse of your position of trust in which you had been placed.
“It was your scheme and it was conducted over a sustained period of time because you were so grossly abusing the position of trust the council had entrusted to you.
“You have spent all the money you stole, so I understand there is nothing to pay back.”
She paid the cash into the accounts of friends and family.
Her co-defendants – her husband Jihad Elkatme, 34, Tijen Kacakoglu, 35, Ajda Saykin-Bezci, 40, Abid Fostok, 33, Mazar Khan, 35, Iqbal Bablu, 27, and Nikos Kolas, 34 – then passed the money back to her in cash or bank transfers.
Prosecutor James Norman said: “She entered the names of the other defendants on the system and submitted forms for each of the defendants, ensuring they could be paid by the borough.
“She then made sure they were paid large sums by the London Borough of Haringey who thought they were carers for vulnerable adults.
“She deceived her managers into approving fraudulent payments.”
The scam was carried out between 2010 and 2012.
Texts and emails from Elkatame’s husband showed he had recruited people into the scam, and arranged for the cash to be channelled back to his wife.
Jihad was jailed for 21 months.
Kacakoglu was jailed for 12 months, while Saykin-Bezci was given a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years.
Fostok was jailed for 10 months.
Both Khan and Bablu were given 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work.
Ceyda Elkatme and Jihad Elkatme of Sterling Avenue, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, admitted fraud by abuse of position and entering into a money laundering agreement respectively.
Kocakoglu, of Cunningham Avenue, Enfield, Fostok, of Mitchell Road, Palmers Green, Kolas of Albany Park Avenue, Enfield, Saykin-Bezci, 19 Dunheved Road, Thornton Heath, and Bablu, or Landseer Road, Enfield, were all convicted of a single charge of entering into a money laundering agreement.