Two confidence tricksters who set up dodgy companies which defrauded customers out of thousands of pounds have been sentenced to a total of four years in jail.
John Hallisey (37), from Littleborough, was handed 30 months after pleading guilty to 11 counts of conspiracy to defraud and trading standards offences at Bolton Crown Court.
His co-accused, Christopher Lord (44), of Rowe Street, Rochdale, received 18 months after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud.
Hallisey is a career criminal who first came to the attention of Rochdale Council in 2009 when he received a court warning for the non-supply of solar panels.
The most serious of the recent offences centred on a car dealership they set up called BCAV Solutions, which conned more than £50,000 out of customers who paid out thousands in deposits on cars.
Some cars were not delivered and those customers who were lucky enough to receive the cars they had paid deposits for found that they were not what they had ordered.
Hallisey posed to staff and customers as employee ‘Jason Wright’ after having previously been banned from being a company director. Lord was registered as the company director.
The predominantly internet-based company, which operated for a year from August 2010, claimed to be able to order new vehicles to customers’ specifications at less than the dealers’ list prices, but it was all an elaborate con.
One customer paid a deposit of £5,940 for a Ford Fiesta Titanium which never arrived. When he tried to get this money back he found that the company had gone into liquidation.
The prosecution was a joint one brought by Rochdale’s Council’s Legal and Public Protection Teams together with the police.
The court heard that the whole purpose of BCAV Solutions was for Hallisey and Lord to fleece customers of as much money as they could before liquidating the company so they had no legal means of getting their money back. Many employees were also left out of pocket and resorted to begging for their wages.
In a separate scam run by Hallisey customers lost more than £50,000 after being sold cars with falsified mileage records and service histories.
Trading under different company names, including River Street Car Sales Ltd and Calder Car Sales, Hallisey sold clocked cars at a higher price than they were worth.
In one case, a customer was sold a Mercedes with a reading of 52,220 miles on the clock. A later check found it had actually done 143,244 miles, nearly three times the advertised mileage. Another customer bought a car which was advertised on ebay as having 23,563 miles on the clock. The car had actually done 109,000 miles and was consequently worth over £1,500 less than the £5,995 the customer paid.
Councillor Jacqui Beswick, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Our Public Protection and Legal teams did a great job bringing this complex case to court and securing prosecutions. I really sympathise with those people who lost significant sums of money at a time when money is tight and would urge consumers to follow the advice at www.facebook.com/tradingstandardsNW before buying a second hand car.”
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