A couple “took over a man’s life” – including moving into him home without permission before trying to sell it from under him. A court has heard that Somaia Bahumaid, 35, met the man in 2020, exchanging phone numbers with him.
She was someone she thought she could exploit and she soon moved herself into his home without permission. On Tuesday Cardiff Crown Court heard that she had met the man in the city before proceeding to take over his life.
Bahumaid gained access to his bank accounts, intercepted his post and ran his documentation and utilities. Later, she moved her boyfriend Muhamet Hoxha, 34, into the house and the couple’s exploitation of the victim escalated, reports WalesOnline.
Two years after the initial meeting, their manipulation got to the point where they put the house on the market without the owner’s knowledge. They met with estate agents and contacted online service Zoopla.
Hoxha impersonated the victim on the phone and provided his email address as a point of contact. Bahumaid also produced a handwritten note, having forced the victim to sign it, which she claimed gave her rights to the house if he died.
Sentencing, Recorder Andrew Hammond said: “This was clearly a dishonest scheme to sell the victim’s house from under him in which you were full and willing participants… So prepared you were to sell a vulnerable man’s home from under him, leading him to obvious and serious emotional harm that would follow. Whether there was a realistic prospect of your efforts to sell the house succeeding, you were both prepared to let this happen.”
Fortunately, there were no offers to buy the house, which had been valued at £220,000. Suspicions were raised after a concerned neighbour noticed a “For Sale” outside the property and the police were contacted.
Bahumaid, of Glyn Collen, Pentwyn, and Hoxha, of Brompton Road, Leeds, were arrested and initially denied a count of fraud by false representation, but they changed their plea to guilty during the trial. The court heard Bahumaid had 16 previous convictions, including offences of dishonesty, theft and fraud. Hoxha has 20 previous convictions including theft.
The victim was said to be particularly vulnerable as he suffers physical, mental and learning difficulties and struggles with communication. The victim was also described as “helpless, confused and worried” as events unfolded. He was commended by Recorder Hammond for his patience in giving evidence at trial.
Bahumaid wept on the video link from HMP Eastwood Park as she was sentenced to five years imprisonment, and Hoxha was sentenced to five years and four months imprisonment. The sentence was reduced by 3% by Recorder Hammond, on account of the defendants’ late guilty plea.
Following the hearing, Detective Constable Adam Segarty, from South Wales Police, said: “Neither Bahumaid nor Hoxha have shown any remorse for their actions. The victim had clear vulnerabilities which they took advantage of for their own benefit.
“I am really pleased for the victim who was initially nervous to reach out for our help. Members of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team were instrumental in supporting him to attend the police station away from the suspects and disclose what had been happening. We hope today’s sentence reassures him that justice has been served. South Wales Police is committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and if anyone has concerns, we urge them to contact us in confidence.”