Two Peterborough men who sold halal lamb - that was neither halal nor lamb - have been found guilty of conspiracy to fraud.
Mahmudur Rohman, 46, of Rothbart Way, Peterborough and Kamal Rahman, 54, of Derby Drive, Peterborough, sold over 100 tonnes of turkey mince they claimed was halal lamb to butchers and restaurants.
The 21 month-deception was uncovered by Leicester City Council’s trading standards.
Rohman and Rahman were today, Thursday March 9, convicted at Leicester Crown Court. They will be sentenced on April 11.
Dutch Bangla Direct Ltd were accused of selling over 100 tonnes of the low-cost white meat to takeaways and shops.
The court heard the con-trick netted the now defunct meat wholesaler company a whopping £250,000 in profit.
Trading Standards discovered the alleged fraud during an investigation into the national horse meat scandal in 2013.
The firm’s boss was Mahmudur Rohman. Jurors were told food tests discovered turkey DNA in dishes which were supposed to be lamb.
Prosecutor Kevin Barry said at an earlier court hearing: “It’s alleged the defendants conspired together to commit fraud in relation to the dishonest supply of turkey meat which they pretended was lamb.
“They were supplying shops and restaurants in the East Midlands and beyond.
“The operation was on a grand scale, involving 100 tonnes of turkey.
“The cost of turkey is very much lower (than lamb) and profits generated from deceiving customers was in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
The court heard Rohman was the sole director of the Peterborough-based firm which was “the front or conduit to carry out their fraudulent activity”.
He was on trial along with Mohammed Anwarul Hoque, (56), and his 25-year-old son Mohammed Zunaid Hoque both of Uplands Road, Oadby, Leicester, who were cleared of all charges.
The court heard Dutch Bangla Direct Ltd imported 116 tonnes of turkey, mainly from Germany, between October 2012 and November 2014. Mr Barry told the jury the firm paid between £1 and £1.50 per kilo for the meat which they then sold as lamb for between £4.75 and £7 per kilo.
He added: “The estimated turnover was between £500,000 to £800,000 generated by selling turkey as lamb and more than half of that would have been profit to Dutch Bangla.
“Turkey meat at wholesale level commands much lower prices and by selling turkey as lamb the defendants were able to charge around double of what it was actually worth.
“And they were still able to undercut rivals’ prices for lamb so it looked more attractive to the customer.
“It wasn’t halal certified and the (European) suppliers to Dutch Bangla didn’t claim it to be halal certified.”
The court heard Rahman offered a restaurant owner money to lie to Trading Standards about the source of suspect meat “to corrupt the investigation into the scam.”