Xahra Saleem is 23 years old and the former director of Changing Your Mindset, along with being one of those who organized a protest in Bristol, England, after George Floyd’s death, a protest that ended in protesters tearing down a statue and throwing it in Bristol Harbor. Now Saleem is behind bars for fraud.
According to the BBC, Saleem was jailed for soliciting fundraising donations for the BLM-style group and then using those donations not for “social justice” but rather embezzling them and using the stolen pounds to fuel her expensive lifestyle habits.
Saleem pleaded guilty in the case, accepting that she transferred tens of thousands of pounds (more than £32,000) out of the group’s bank account and into her personal bank account. She then spent it all over the course of about a year, using it for mainly lifestyle activities from June 2020 through September 2021, the BBC reported.
Saleem’s embezzlement of the funds took the form of 2,500 small payments from the BLM group’s bank to hers, a steady stream of payments Judge Michael Longman referred to as a “constant leakage over a significant period of time.” Saleem spent the money on things like a new iPhone, clothing, takeaway food, taxis, Amazon orders, and hair and beauty appointments.
Describing how the embezzlement took place, Judge Longman said, “After your account was credited with the company’s funds you quickly began to disperse those funds. In July 2020 you transferred the sum of several hundred pounds into a family member’s account to be held there and thereafter the prosecution say ‘the floodgates opened’.”
He continued, “I am not sure if that is an appropriate phrase or not but, even if there wasn’t a flood of money out of the accounts, there was constant leakage over a significant period of time with more than 2,500 separate payments out of your accounts between June 2020 and September 2021 whereby the funds raised were dissipated and the intended beneficiaries were deprived of the opportunities they were intended to have.”
Addressing Saleem, Judge Longman chastised her for stealing the money and then wasting it on a frivolous lifestyle outside of her means, saying, “you then used (the embezzled money) not for [donors’] benefit but for your own, funding a lifestyle for yourself that you could not otherwise have afforded.”
Continuing, Judge Longman said, “In the absence of a business account to pay the money into, the decision was made to pay it into your own account as an interim measure.” He added, “The others involved in the project trusted you to hold the funds securely until a better arrangement could be made. There should have been no reason why the money could not be transferred into that account but problems became apparent. The money was not transferred and you made excuses for that failure.”
Earlier, the prosecution told the court that Saleem also transferred several hundred pounds from the charity’s bank account into the account of a relative in July 2020 with the reference “Fred, hold it for me please.”
The prosecution alleged that making that one transaction opened the embezzlement floodgates, saying, “from that point onwards the floodgates opened and the defendant used the money freely with no funds being credited to the account to cover the shortfall.”
Watch the Bristol protest here:
— BBC Radio Bristol (@BBCRB) June 7, 2020
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