A Leeds driving instructor committed fraud after accepting over £12,000 worth of bookings for lessons after losing his instructor’s badge.

Martial Ngamaleu committed the deception by continuing to work for an online agency called Pass Me First after being removed from an official register of driving instructors.

Leeds Crown Court heard the 44-year-old dad qualified as a driving instructor in 2014 but was removed from the register in 2016 when he failed to pass a standards check.

Olivia McGinn, prosecuting, said Ngamaleu appealed against the decision in July 2016 and was allowed to continue to work.

The appeal was upheld in September 2016 and he was notified that he been removed from the register.

The defendant answered an advertisement on Facebook in October 2017 for a self-employed instructor with Pass Me First and received fees for driving lessons with customers.

Ms McGinn said Ngamaleu applied for the position claiming he had been an approved instructor for four years.

The court heard one woman paid the defendant £1,120 in July 2018 for a total of 37 lessons after being referred to him by the agency.

Throughout the period of offending Ngamaleu continued to be registered with Pass Me First.

Between November 2017 and October 2018 he was paid £12,758 for 703 hours of lessons.

Ngamaleu was asked to provide a copy of his instructor’s badge in September 2018 but ignored the request.

The deception came to light a month later when a customer became aware that the defendant was not a qualified instructor and informed the agency.

He was asked to return 76 hours’ worth of tutoring payments he had outstanding but said he did not have the funds.

The agency then had to refund customers a total of £1,520.

Ms McGinn said Ngamaleu was asked to attend an interview by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency but failed to do so,

Ngameleu, 44, of Moynihan Close, Gipton, Leeds, pleaded guilty to fraud.

Robin Freize, mitigating, said his client had been trying hard to re-qualify as an instructor but it had been an expensive process and he had run out of money.

Mr Freize said the defendant answered the advert for a self-employed instructor out of desperation as he needed to provide for his family

Ngamaleu was given 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 200 hours on unpaid work.

Article Courtesy of The Yorkshire Post.