TfL worker and brother admit selling test answers to cab drivers
TfL worker and her brother admit selling secret test answers to failed mini-cab drivers so they can pass map reading exam to get licence
- Cindy Ughanze, 28, worked in the topographical assessment department for TfL
- Drivers wishing to ferry passengers around London must pass map reading test
- Ughanze worked with brother Jordan, 25, both from Croydon, to target drivers who failed and offered to help them cheat the map test for hundreds of pounds
- Both admitted fraud and judge warned them they could face prison next month
A Transport for London worker and her brother are facing prison after helping mini-cab drivers cheat to pass their private hire license test.
University graduate Cindy Ughanze, 28, was employed by the Topographical Assessment Department of TfL and sold the information to struggling applicants seeking a private hire vehicle licence (PHVL).
All drivers wishing to ferry passengers around London must acquire a private hire license and to do so they must pass a topographical assessment which tests their map-reading skills.
Cindy Ughanze (left) and brother Jordan (right) have admitted fraud after they were caught selling map reading test answers to mini-cab drivers so they could get a private hire licence
This is a less extensive assessment than the Knowledge which is a series of tests passed by black cab drivers in London and requires them to memorise around 25,000 streets in the capital.
Cindy plotted with her engineering graduate brother Jordan Ughanze, 25, who approached the drivers and charged them between £300 and £500 to cheat the topographical assessment.
Prosecutor Shannon Revel said: ‘Applicants must show they have a working knowledge of the geography of London and the sealed test results are taken to TfL.
‘Cindy gave the details of the failed applicants to Jordan, who offered them a way to pass the test for a fee and he filled-in the fresh examination papers and they would be swapped by his sister.’
The Ughanzes, both from Croydon, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud TfL between February 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018 and will be sentenced on April 29.
One cheat, who paid the Ughanzes for the answers, passed their re-test with an 88 per cent grade after flunking their first attempt with a miserable 43 per cent, the court heard.
All options open: At Croydon Crown Court (pictured), Judge Deborah Charles warned the defendants they faced prison time when they reappear for sentencing at court next month
A judge at Croydon Crown Court warned the defendants they could face prison time when they appear for sentencing next month.
Judge Deborah Charles said: ‘Both defendants should bring overnight bags when they return to be sentenced, they must be prepared. All options remain open.’
The prosecution is limited to the twenty-two failed applicants, whose details were found in a sports holdall along with blank and completed test papers when police raided the Ughanzes’ family home.
Those drivers have been permanently banned by TfL from applying for a PHVL, but not prosecuted, despite participating in the fraud.
‘The investigation was to target those at the top of the conspiracy,’ added Ms Revel, revealing one failed applicant anonymously tipped-off the police when approached by the Ughanzes.
It is unknown if there are currently more PHVL-holders driving customers around London, who cheated the test.
‘There was not a queue of applicants outside the police station door because they have also committed fraud,’ Ms Revel added.
Each sibling claims to be the instigator of the conspiracy and mother-of-one Cindy, who has a fraud conviction for trying to avoid parking tickets, say they received £8,000 for their services.
She was employed by TfL on a £32,000 salary, having abandoned her masters degree course and is currently in receipt of Universal Credit.
She would log-in to her work computer for up to two hours outside of her office hours and was arrested at her desk on May 31, 2018 before being taken to Charing Cross Police Station.
Father-of-one Jordan, an assistant project manger for Network Rail, has convictions for robbery, battery and fraud and is currently having the family council house transferred to his name.
‘They have both participated in a thoroughly dishonest enterprise, having been given a chance by the courts after previous offences,’ announced Judge Charles.
Referring to Cindy, the judge added: ‘Having been caught twice in her life for being dishonest, surely now is the time to show some honesty.’
They will appear at the same court next month to be sentenced.
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