A serial fraudster from Brierfield who was ordered to pay £1.3 million of criminal cash has been alleviated of some of his debts to HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

Mohammed Arshid Khatana was named a ‘ruthless serial fraudster’ after he was found to be the man behind a £250,000 legal aid scam.

In 2013, Khatana was ordered to pay back ill-gotten gains to the tune of £1.3m after he and his daughter Mahria Khatana, then 24, both carried out the con.

Khatana and his daughter, of the same address, were both arrested after a three-year investigation by organised crime police.

The court heard how Khatana had been running two companies, POCA Consulting Ltd, which had a website and was advertised in Inside Times, the prison journal, and Ultima Consulting, which offered legal representation to people, despite having no legal qualifications or accreditation.

The defendant would visit clients and arrange to transfer their legal aid to his firm, charging an extra £500 for the referral.

Khatana, previously of Hawkswood Gardens, Brierfield, was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to 15 charges of fraud.

He claimed he had nothing to show from his lawbreaking but was said to have concealed assets and had a bank account in Pakistan.

In his written judgement at the end of the Proceeds of Crime Hearing, Judge Graham Knowles made a confiscation order against Khatana to the sum of £1,356,259.70.

Yesterday (Tuesday, May 7) Khatana appeared at Preston Crown Court for an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Judge Graham Knowles heard the Crown Prosecution Service had accepted £40,000 should be alleviated from Khatana's debt, as it had been revealed he did not own some of the properties originally included in his proceeds of crime order.

This included a property in Lord Street, Brierfield, where the prosecution applied for administration on behalf of the third parties.

It was not revealed how much of the £1.3 million owed by Khatana has been repaid thus far.