A used car dealer who fraudulently reduced the mileage reading on his stock before reselling them on eBay was jailed.
Stephen Appleton, 45, bought cars though auctions and then had the odometer “clocked” to take tens of thousands of miles off their perceived mileage.
He would then sell them on through multiple user names on eBay using different contact numbers.
Nicola Miles, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court: “It is believed he ran his business in this manner to ensure he could not easily be contacted by dissatisfied customers.”
One of those dissatisfied customers approached trading standards after finding out the car he bought was classed as a damaged vehicle and an investigation began.
Investigators from St Helens council raided Appleton’s house, on Meadowcroft, St Helens, and recovered forged stamps which he had made to make false service histories to support the faked readings.
Appleton, who has previous convictions for similar offenses, denied selling clocked cars and pointed out he had stickers which said the mileage could not be guaranteed but later pleaded guilty to 17 counts of fraud as well as possessing articles for use in fraud and making those articles.
The court heard that BMW Z4 was sold as having 59,000 miles on the clock when it fact it was nearer to 149,000, while an Audi A4 was sold as having done 52,000 miles when it had actually traveled 133,000.
When the buyer of that car found out the true mileage he complained and got his money back but Appleton then re-advertised it with the false figures.
The court heard that the cost to buyers was just short of £30,000 over the three and half year fraud.
Thomas Fitzpatrick, defending, said: “While this period of offending has spanned the dates it has there would be a dispute to any suggestion that all he does is sell dodgy motors. There are people who purchase cars off him who are quite happy and that they have come back to him.”
Judge Thomas Teague, QC, jailed Appleton for 21 months, saying: “You appear to have regarded your customers as fair game in the sense that they knew or ought to have known that mileage could not be guaranteed. That is a cheek coming from someone who has gone to such considerable lengths to misrepresent that mileage to customers.
“You seem to have regarded the law in this area as a series of irksome regulations when in truth they are not just rules but basic ethical truths that everybody knows. On one occasion you had the brass neck to advertise a vehicle after you had been arrested and interviewed.”
Source: Liverpool Echo http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/car-dealer-who-clocked-vehicles-7549333