News item

Repay clocking victims!

Clocking suspectedAnthony Banister, owner of Motorgroup in Loughton has been ordered to pay £335,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and £65,000 in compensation to his victims totalling £400,000. He conceded that this was the value of his criminal conduct and the amount by which he personally benefited.
 
Essex County Council will receive 37% of the Proceeds of Crime order, which totals over £120,000. This money will be fed into the council’s budget and go towards providing services to the residents of Essex.
 
By ordering him to repay this money the court have effectively taken the profit out of his crime. The compensation payments will also be some reward to the victims, who were duped into buying clocked cars from Banister only to find that they were worth considerably less than the price paid.
 
Banister was also given a two year custodial sentence in March 2010 following offences committed contrary to s.1 of the Fraud Act 2006 relating to fraud by false representation; in addition Anthony Banister received a further one year’s detention for breaching s.9 of the act - participating in a fraudulent business carried on by a sole trader.
 
Banister has been given 6 months to pay the money over or face an additional 4 years in prison in default. Even then he will still be liable to pay the money over. 
 
Anthony Banister conspired to acquire high mileage vehicles and sell them on with a significantly lower mileage, making a large profit in the process.  The cars were sold to unwitting customers with the disclaimer that the mileage could not be guaranteed: a practice that should only be used where the trader has tried but failed to verify the vehicle mileage as being correct.
 
Trading standards launched an investigation following numerous complaints from disgruntled Motorgroup customers.  The operation began with officers checking the mileages of all vehicles on Motorgroups’ forecourt and reporting their findings to Banister: once he was in receipt of this information, he could no longer hide behind the disclaimer and had to reveal the true mileage of the cars to his customers.    The enquiries which trading standards officers made could have easily been done by Banister himself, but he chose not to do so.
 
County Councillor Tracey Chapman, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Community Safety and Trading Standards commented: 'I would like to congratulate the officers involved in this operation, their hard work and dedication has paid off with an extremely positive outcome.  
 
'Whilst the vast majority of businesses in Essex abide by the law there are a few traders who are intent on defrauding their customers and we want this case to send out a very strong message to those individuals: we will find out who you are and we will bring you to book.'

Essex CC press release 5 October 2010