A 29-year-old Indian-origin fraudster who was given 98,000 pounds as a grant to start a new forest project in the South Yorkshire region of England but failed to plant a single tree has been jailed for 27 months.
Pritesh Ladwa, who describes himself as a CEO-director of several companies on Facebook, was given the grant to beautify a former Orgreave colliery site at Waverley in South Yorkshire but failed to deliver.
Ladwa had denied fraud but was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court this week.
"There was no forest where a forest should have been," prosecutor Daniel Oscroft told the court.
Pictures on social media showed Ladwa enjoying champagne and smiling on a yacht in Hawaii, swimming with a dolphin and posing in front of a waterfall in Iceland, the Birmingham Mail reported.
It is believed he blew up the money on his high-flying lifestyle.
Jurors were told that Ladwa won the grant from the English Woodland Grant Scheme, run by the UK's Forestry Commission to create new woods for the public to enjoy.
He told the commission that all the work had been done in March 2014 - but later claimed the site had been targeted by vandals.
He was caught out when two experts from the commission visited the land.
"They found no evidence that trees had ever been planted or any evidence that vandalism had taken place. The place had not even been cleared for the planting of trees. This was the fraud. Ladwa had lied to the Forestry Commission by saying he had completed the work," Oscroft said in court.
Ladwa claimed he and a friend planted some trees and migrant workers had been paid cash-in-hand to plant the rest.
However, the court did not buy his version of the story and jailed him for 27 months.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)