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Fraud charge for woman who accused reporter of harassment

Neelam desaiA woman who claimed she was being harassed by a weekly journalist investigating her alleged crimes has been charged with fraud.

Neelam Desai, pictured left, was arrested in April 2014 on suspicion of ten counts of fraud by false representation following an investigation by the Croydon Advertiser into an alleged dating website scam.

Chief reporter Gareth Davies was issued with a police information notice (PIN), after Desai contacted officers to say she felt “persecuted” by the stories he was writing about her.

Gareth told officers at the time the harassment allegation was made that he had visited Desai’s house once and sent her a politely worded email.

Both the Metropolitan Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission have rejected a complaint by the Advertiser about the former’s decision to issue the PIN to Gareth.

The Advertiser is currently in the process of appealing the IPCC’s ruling via a judicial review.

Desai’s alleged offences occurred between 3 December 2013 and 24 March 2014.

It is understood at least one of the charges relates to a complaint made by a 35-year-old man from Leicester who claimed to have been conned out of £35,500 by a woman who contacted him through Asian marriage website

When the CPS decided not to charge Desai, suggesting it would not be in the public interest, the man appealed via the Right to Review scheme.

Desai, 35, has now been charged with three counts of fraud by false representation.

Andrew Baxter, deputy chief crown prosecutor for CPS Direct, said: “The CPS Victims’ Right to Review scheme allows alleged victims to seek a review of a CPS decision not to prosecute in certain circumstances.

“After careful consideration of the evidence, including additional evidence supplied by the police, I have decided there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge Neelam Desai with three counts of fraud by false representation.”

Desai will now be summonsed to appear before magistrates. A date has yet to be fixed for the hearing.