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Two years for fraudster for whom Sturgeon wrote letter

13 May 2010

The fraudster who persuaded Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to write a letter urging the court not to jail him, has been sentenced to two years.

Abdul Rauf pled guilty to obtaining £80,000 in income support by failing to disclose in 2001 that he owned a property other than his home. He had previously been given four years in 1996 on being convicted in the High Court of theft and fraud.

Sheriff Alan Mackenzie at Glasgow Sheriff Court told him yesterday that the nature of his offence, taken with his previous record, was such that no disposal other than prison was appropriate. In mitigation he took into account that Rauf had tendered an early plea, that he had suffered two heart attacks, and that part repayment had been made and full recovery of the money was likely.

In her letter to the court Ms Sturgeon had highlighted Rauf's circumstances including his young family, and said he recognised the serious nature of his crime. She appealed to the court to consider alternatives to a custodial sentence. She subsequently defended her actions as representing her constituent, but later apologised to the Parliament that she had "got some things wrong".

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