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Indian fashion designer sentenced to 20 years in prison in the UK for garment fraud

An Indian-origin fashion designer in Britain has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for what prosecutors have called a “sophisticated, deceitful and sustained” clothing scam that defrauded companies and customers out of more than £5 million ($6.3 million).

Surinder Sunger, 43, was found guilty on 23 counts of fraud and money laundering dating back to 2012. Sunger not only sold customers clothing items that didn’t exist but also charged companies for services and staff members that he had not hired.

Sunger was sentenced to prison after a 16-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court in which the jury found him guilty of 23 counts of fraud and money laundering, dating back to 2012. He had earlier pleaded guilty to nine additional offences involving financial fraud and making false representations.

It was found that Sunger used his companies to induce people to buy clothing products which he never delivered, while charging companies for dozens of staff members who he had not employed and services which he had not delivered.

The jury heard that Sunger’s scam had continued for over three years, during which he had targeted companies, customers, trade events, and even charitable raising initiatives, such as the charity Fashion Saves Lives.

Judge Michael Chambers said Sunger had caused “corrosive damage” to innocent people and caused “unimaginable pain, frustration, and financial hardship”. Sunger reportedly showed no emotion as the sentencing was read out and was taken into custody following the sentencing.