A JETSETTING fraudster at the centre of a £700,000 money laundering scheme told a court he squandered all of his ill-gotten gains on cocaine, prostitutes and luxury holidays.

Former postmaster Manish Parmar was at the head of a gang who defrauded the Post Office out of hundreds of thousands by submitting fraudulent pay-in slips at the Totton Post Office.

Last year, he was found guilty of fraud and converting criminal property and sentenced to six years, six months imprisonment.

But yesterday the jailed fraudster was hauled back before the courts as police and prosecutors launched a bid to re-coop the proceeds of the scheme.

Police finance experts told the court they believe Parmar could have personally pocketed almost £500,000 from the fraud.

But now he has been ordered to pay back nearly all of that money to the Post Office by a judge, who dismissed Parmar’s claims of a “luxury lifestyle” as “grossly exaggerated” and labelled the 35-year-old as “devious and manipulative”.

He also attached a four-and-a-half year prison sentence to the debt, which Parmar will serve if he does not cough up the cash in the next three months.

The court heard evidence from police finance expert Caroline Grinter, who claimed Parmar could have pocketed nearly half a million pound from the two year long scam – with his 11 accomplices banking the remaining £200,000.

Daily Echo:

But, while giving evidence, Parmar claimed he had only made between £160,000 and £200,000, which he said he splashed on luxury family holidays, drugs and escorts.

This included nearly a dozen trips to Romania between 2015 and 2017, where he claimed he used cash to binge on expensive vodka, cocaine and £1,000-a-night prostitutes.

Parmar told the court he became “addicted” to his luxury lifestyle, to the point where he began paying for prostitutes to travel back to Southampton for drink and drug-fuelled weekends.

Parmar claimed he spent up to £30,000 each on two women, who he lavished with expensive gifts and trips to the UK.

He said he would also pay for expensive hotel rooms in Southampton where he would pay for drugs and escorts for him and his friends.

But the father-of-one also claimed he splashed out on family holidays, including to £800-a-night hotel suits in exotic locations such as Mauritius, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Daily Echo:

He also took his wife and child on a £13,000 three-week long tour of America – including stops in Orlando, Atlantic City and Niagara Falls.

But after living his two year life of luxury, Parmar told the court he was left with just two cars, both of which had been sold.

Prosecutor Andrew Houston raised doubt about Parmar’s account, which included a claim that he was storing his ill-gotten gains in gym lockers in Southampton.

Mr Houston also questioned if Parmar had ever invested in property in Romania or Spain, where he made multiple trips between 2015 and 2017.

He said: “You are making it all up aren’t you? You’ve hidden your money away haven’t you?

“You salted away £400,000 and you are not saying where it is.”

Parmar replied: “I’ve never had that kind of money.”

Representing Parmar, Kanna Sivva, said Parmar’s account showed he had made the trips and that photographs in his Google drive account showed pictures of his family holidays to Mauritius and Dubai, as well as pictures of him with escorts and expensive vodka.

Mr Sivva said: “To quote the late-great George Best, ‘I spent all my money on booze, birds and fast cars’.”

“In Parmar’s case, he squandered his money on cocaine, hookers, holidays to Dubai and a lifestyle that was far beyond his means.”

In his ruling, Judge Peter Henry said Parmar’s claims he had only taken £200,000 of the £700,000 fraud total was “not credible”, as he was the orchestrator of the scheme.

He added: “I find Mr Parmar’s evidence unsatisfactory.

“While giving evidence he seemed to relish painting a picture of his sexual activities which were so extreme it would put Casanova to shame.

“I believe he grossly exaggerated the amount of cash he spent on the trips and holidays.”

He estimated the amount spent by Parmar to be around £140,000.

Judge Henry removed the amount from the estimated amount Parmar had benefited from the fraud and other criminal activity – which he ruled as more than £570,000.

He ordered the total amount to be paid as £436,446, which will be returned to the Post Office.

Parmar was ordered to pay the money within three months, or be jailed for four-and-a-half years – on top of his current sentence.

As previously reported in the Echo, Parmar recruited 11 other men, including an injured army cadet and a delivery driver, to launder money from Totton Post Office, by putting in fraudulent pay-in slips.

The slips were sent to the organisation’s headquarters before the money was put into the gang’s personal banking accounts.

Parmar, who owned the Best One, on Rumbridge Street, where the Post Office was, was found guilty during a trial.

Daily Echo:

He is currently serving his six year sentence.

His accomplices, Asir Karakulah, 35, of Station Road North, Totton, pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment.

Philip Maidment, 37, of Testbourne Road, Totton, also pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced 16 months imprisonment, while Gareth Hills, 39, of Holmesland Walk, Botley, who also pleaded guilty to money laundering, was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.

Seven of the remaining eight defendants pleaded guilty to money laundering and all received suspended sentences, while Robert Rayment, 47, of Fourshells Close, Fawley, was found guilty of money laundering and received a 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.