Kirk Michael Claus (aged 51) of Slate Delf Farm, Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd has been sentenced to over six years in jail for failing to pay back £6.2 million gained from criminal activity
Kirk Michael Claus (aged 51) of Slate Delf Farm, Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd has been sentenced to over six years in jail for failing to pay back £6.2 million gained from criminal activity.
Claus was handed the proceeds of crime confiscation order and given six months to pay back the money in December 2014. Having failed to do so, even after several extensions, he was sentenced to 2,266 days in prison on 27 April 2016 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court. This replaces a default sentence of seven years imprisonment imposed in 2014.
This latest conviction comes as a result of continued work by the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scambuster Team Yorkshire and the Humber to bring Claus and his associates to justice.
Claus was originally jailed in 2012 when an investigation by the NTS Scambuster Team and other enforcement agencies led to the largest seizure of vehicles from a rogue trader ever seen in the UK. The investigation found the total criminal benefit to these men and four co-defendants from their illegal enterprise to be £26,565,449.70.
Colin Rumford, Head of Regional Investigations, National Trading Standards Scambuster Team Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “On 15 December 2014, Claus has been given a proceeds of crime confiscation order for £6,203,025.72. This followed an earlier conviction for offences connected with defrauding customers of Chequered Flag Car Sales in Halifax. The judge imposed a default sentence of seven years imprisonment should Claus fail to pay the award.
“The investigation was carried out by the Yorkshire and the Humber Trading Standards Group Scambuster Team and was supported by officers from West Yorkshire and City of York Council trading standards services and West Yorkshire Police. It followed complaints received from customers who had purchased cars from the company between September 2009 to August 2010.”
Cllr David Carr, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods at City of York Council, said: “I applaud the tenacity of these teams working to protect the public from unscrupulous traders who undermine legitimate businesses, and to recover their ill gotten gains. Anyone who fears they may have been scammed should call their local Trading Standards team immediately or the CAB helpline on 08454 040506.”
Examples of the original complaints included:
- Insurance ‘write off’ vehicles being sold as ‘immaculate inside and out’
- Vehicles being sold with false mileage readings
- Vehicles being sold with ‘full manufacturer’s service history’ when no such history existed
- A vehicle being sold which was subject to a finance agreement
- Vehicles being sold with various disguised faults such as a sand-filled radiator
- Vehicles being sold with false warranties.
In many instances registration documents and other paperwork were withheld until the cars were paid for and taken from the forecourt. When customers returned vehicles or tried to get warranty work undertaken they were met with ridicule and abuse from some of the defendants.
National Trading Standards brings together trading standards experts from services across England and Wales to prioritise, fund and coordinate national and regional enforcement cases. It is responsible for gathering intelligence from around the country to combat rogue traders and tackle priorities such as internet scams, illegal money lending and other issues that go beyond local authority boundaries.
Notes to Editors
For further information on this case see:
Luxury cars seized by Scambusters go under the hammer, 26 February 2015
£6.5 million payback ordered for West Yorkshire rogue car dealers, 14 December 2014
Alternatively contact the regional Scambusters office on (01904) 551565.
For more general enquiries regarding National Trading Standards please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- National Trading Standards is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
- National Trading Standards provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
- National Trading Standards funds the Scambuster Teams that target rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
1.Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CeNTSA)
2.North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
3.Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
4.Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
5.Tri Region Scambusters (TRS), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LoTSA)
6.Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
7.Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
8.Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
For more information please visit www.nationaltradingstandards.uk.