A Watford conman has been sentenced to an 18 month Community Order after he tricked a Luton garage into selling him a £14,000 VW Golf by using a fake identity, Luton Crown Court has heard.
Max Percival, from Watford, arranged a test drive on September 22, 2018 after seeing the Golf on Tenby Trade Cars’ website.
Luton Crown Court heard he assumed the identity of another man and showed the salesman a licence in his name. He believed it was a genuine document and as a result finance was arranged with Santander.
Prosecutor Charles Judge said: “The car cost just under £14,000 plus a £500 warranty, and with the finance costs over 60 months it brought the finance costs to a little over £19,500.”
The man’s whose identity was used raised the alarm the following month when he saw his bank statement. The fraud was linked to Percival though the telephone numbers he used.
Mr Judge said the car was not recovered and Tenby Trade Cars was left £14,400 out of pocket, having had to repay the bank.
Percival, aged 26, of High Rise Avenue, Watford appeared for sentence having earlier pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.
The court was told he was serving an 8 month suspended jail sentence imposed at St Albans crown court for a similar offence committed in August 2018 at a car dealership, which suffered a £23,500 loss.
Mr Judge said Percival at 14 previous convictions for 26 offences, including a fraud involving credit cards in Geneva, Switzerland.
Defending, Amy Hazlewood said Percival, who had a drug addiction at the time, was making good progress on the suspended sentence. She said he was now working as a recovery truck driver and had been reconciled with his family.
Judge Rebecca Herbert told him: “It was a serious offence. A considerable amount of money was defrauded from a small business. You assumed the identity of another man and helped yourself to a valuable vehicle.
“The was you were behaving at the time was down to your drug addiction, which at that time, was hopelessly out of control. You are only 26. You can put this behind you.”
The judge sentenced him to an 18 month Community Order with 15 rehabilitation days.
She said she had read a letter he had sent her and believed his remorse was genuine, but warned him: “If you do it again the outcome will be very different indeed, Do you understand? ”
Percival replied: “I do. Thank you.”