Three men running car sales businesses illegally from the same Luton address were sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday last week.
Syed Bukhari aged 28 of Blenheim Crescent, Luton, trading as Eagle Motors Luton Limited, Waqar Sajid aged 33 of Bradley Road, Luton, trading as Haadi Motors and Syed Hashmi aged 42 of Dawlish Road, Luton trading as Bedfordshire Motors Limited all pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial to a charge of fraudulent trading.
The Court heard the men were involved in the business which changed its name several times in a bid to make it harder for consumers to gain refunds or redress and for the authorities to keep track of their practices.
The business sold clocked cars, advertised 12 month MOTs when often they were far less, some that didn’t exist and some vehicles that had even failed their tests. The business misled consumers about the service history of vehicles. They also failed to notify consumers about the fact vehicles were Category C and D insurance write offs. When consumers tried to gain refunds, they were fobbed off, with the business stating a new company was operating from the premises even though the same individuals were involved. In an attempt to avoid business rates, they used the ruse of the change of company name to rack up debts of £70,000 between the various companies.
The Court heard businesses were set up as a shield to hide behind.
Judge HHJ Bartle QC said the companies were engaged in fraudulent activity.
Bukhari was sentenced to 9 months suspended for 2 years, to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, pay £3500 costs and was banned from being a director for 5 years; Sajid was sentenced to 10 months isuspended for 2 years, to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £3000 costs and was banned from being a director for 5 years; Hashmi who had a previous conviction in relation to car sales was told he only just avoided being sent to prison and was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years, to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, pay £3500 costs and was banned from being a director for 10 years.
The judge also put on record that it was only for the diligent work of Luton Borough Council’s Trading Standards team, and particularly the investigating officer, Mick Smith, that this matter was able to be bought before the court.