Hand over cash or face more jail time, judge tells Wattisfield fraudster
A business owner has only a fraction left of the tens of thousands of pounds he charged for vehicle repairs which were never carried out, a court has heard.
Adrian Wells, 53, who in July was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court for fraud, took payments totalling £30,000 at his workshop in Wattisfield.
Today (Tuesday) Wells, of Beyton Road, Hessett, returned to court for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing designed to recoup as much as possible of what he gained through his offending.
Mr Recorder John Brooke-Smith was told that specialist financial investigators has established that Wells’ benefit from fraud amounted to £30,000 but he had assets of only £1,160.
Wells was ordered to hand over the £1,160 within the next three months or face a further three weeks imprisonment.
When Wells was sentenced in July, the court was told that he had purchased the business Make My Bay for £1 after the previous owner had run into financial problems.
When customers who had for months been fobbed off with excuses and assurances that work on their VW camper vans was going well turned up at the workshop they discovered they had been lied to.
Some vehicles were found to be in a worse condition than when they were delivered to Wells while little work had been done to others.
Customers, who had tried without success to contact Wells, arrived to find the workshop in Wattisfield had closed down.
One couple who had handed over £12,000 to Wells to have their VW camper van restored discovered that nothing had been done to it for around 18 months.
Another customer found that her vehicle was in such a poor condition that it had lost half it’s value and, after paying out £4,500 to Wells, had been left with no savings and having to rely on buses for transport.
Wells, who was jailed for 15 months, had pleaded guilty to nine offences of fraud by false representation.