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March 29, 2012updated 12 Apr 2017 11:47am

Seven sentenced for £125k car finance fraud

Two men have been jailed and five handed suspended sentences at Stoke-On-Trent Crown Court on Friday for their involvement in a car finance fraud scheme worth £125,000. Over a three-year period the seven men netted finance worth £104,765 on six vehicles including a Jaguar, a Mercedes-Benz and two Kia 4x4s Two of the seven, Christopher Lea, aged 42, and his stepson Matthew Lea, aged 23, both from Stoke-on-Trent also acquired £19,690 in personal loans obtained using false documents

By Richard Irvine-Brown

Two men have been jailed and five handed suspended sentences at Stoke-On-Trent Crown Court on Friday for their involvement in a car finance fraud scheme worth £125,000.

Over a three-year period the seven men netted finance worth £104,765 on six vehicles including a Jaguar, a Mercedes-Benz and two Kia 4x4s.

Two of the seven, Christopher Lea, aged 42, and his stepson Matthew Lea, aged 23, both from Stoke-on-Trent also acquired £19,690 in personal loans obtained using false documents. The pair conspired to convert the finance on the vehicles – a process highlighted by the Finance & Leasing Association during Car Crime Awareness Week – and launder the proceeds before fleeing to Spain.

Using false documents Christopher Lea secured a hire purchase agreement worth £15,168 on an X-Type Jaguar in November 2005 on which he repaid £5,780 before fleeing to Spain. In February 2007 he used false wage slips and a bank account registered to Matthew Lea to raise £15,000 from a finance company for a Mercedes-Benz. Only £1,287 of the £21,930 owed was repaid.

Jonathan Challinor, prosecuting, said the five other defendants then became involved in obtaining fraudulent finance worth a total of between £69,495 and £93,147.

Sentencing

Christopher Lea was jailed for 23 months and Matthew Lea to 15 months after both admitted five counts of conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to convert or transfer criminal property, and handling stolen goods.

Darren Frost (43), of Stoke-on-Trent, was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and given a 12 month supervision order after admitting conspiracy to convert or transfer criminal property.

Darren Harrison (37), of Madeley, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, after admitting conspiracy to convert or transfer criminal property.

Lee Orme (39), of Stoke-on-Trent, admitted two counts of conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work.

Jonathan Bowden (39), of Silverdale, Newcastle-under-Lyme, admitted fraud and was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

William North (63), from Menzies in Dundee, admitted fraud and was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and given a 12-month supervision order.

A full interview with DCI Mark Hooper of ACPO’s Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service will be published in April’s issue of Motor Finance magazine.

richard.brown@vrlfinancialnews.com

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