Five Bentleys, a Ferrari and other prestige vehicles seized from criminals are being auctioned tomorrow (Friday 27 February) following an investigation by a York-based National Trading Standards Team.
The auctions are in line with a £6.5 million payback order into fraudulent car dealing, a ruling that was handed down at Leeds Crown Court in December 2014.
The investigation, which brought about what’s believed to be the UK’s largest seizure of vehicles from a single rogue trader, was led by the National Trading Standards Scambuster Team in Yorkshire and The Humber, based at City of York Council and at North Yorkshire County Council,
The auction sale will be of 12 luxury cars seized from Kirk CLAUS (aged 47) of Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd and Peter BRAY (aged 57) of Division Lane, Blackpool. Both were convicted at Leeds Crown Court in 2012 for their part in a conspiracy to defraud customers of Chequered Flag Car Sales in Halifax. They were also convicted for money laundering arising from the illegal sale of misdescribed second hand cars from the garage. On 15 December 2014 at Leeds Crown Court, the two men were then ordered to pay back a total of £6,407,268.32 gained from their illegal activities. The investigation found the total criminal benefit to these men and four co defendants to be £26,565,449.70.
The auction on Friday 27 February 2015 at 7pm by Wilsons Auctions in Northern Ireland will sell the 12 vehicles confiscated from Claus and Bray. They are five Bentleys – including a Arnage 6.7 T 5 – three Land Cruisers including a Toyota 4.2 Amazon VX 4 Door 4x4, three American speciality vehicles including a Dodge Dart Hemi 426 2 Door Coupe as well as a Ferrari 360 Modena 2 Door Coupe.
CLAUS had received a total of three years imprisonment and was banned from being a director for five years. He was later sentenced to a further nine months for contempt of court when he failed to reveal his full assets to the investigation team.
The investigation into CLAUS’ assets involved the seizure and compulsory sale of over 100 motor vehicles including a number of high value and rare cars and motorcycles. This is believed to be the largest number of vehicles seized from one individual since the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The original investigation into rogue trading activities was carried out by the Yorkshire and the Humber Trading Standards Group National Trading Standards 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 Chequered Flag Cars and Bikes between September 2009 and August 2010.
Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “Our Scambuster team has led to CLAUS being compelled to compensate 19 of his victims a total £44,430.20 from monies confiscated, and this sale will go towards that and also the £6.4m payback ordered through the Proceeds of Crime Act. Our tenacious investigators work hard to see justice being done and criminals making appropriate amends, which goes towards establishing proper trading standards and public trust in traders.”
Lord Toby Harrris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said: “I am pleased to see that the auction sale will see victims reimbursed following the investigation by the National Trading Standards Scambuster team.
“When buying a car, people should be able to trust that the seller is being honest about its history and ultimately, that they are buying a vehicle that is safe for them and their family. These criminals were calculated and heartless and put lives at risk across the country.”
For more information about this case contact the regional Scambusters office on 01904 551502.
For more general enquiries regarding the National Trading Standards Board please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
About the National Trading Standards Board
The National Trading Standards Board 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.
The National Trading Standards Board provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
The National Trading Standards Board funds the Scambuster Teams that target rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CeNTSA)
North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
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)
Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
Further notes to editors
(Any specific details about the case can be added here.)