A READING man has been successfully prosecuted for fraud involving the sale of cars.
Waheed Hussain Butt, 43, of Wincanton Road, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court at 10am on Thursday 13th October after being found guilty on 23 counts under the Fraud Act 2006. Butt appeared by video link from prison.
The investigation was jointly undertaken by Reading Trading Standards and the police.
In late 2015, whilst still on probation for previous offences, Mr Butt used the website www.Gumtree.com to advertise vehicles for sale.
When customers sent deposits or full payment to Mr Butt – sometimes without ever having viewed a vehicle – the dealer promised delivery within a few days. He often provided falsified delivery documents and when these deliveries failed, further contact with Butt resulted in various excuses, but many victims never received either a vehicle or a refund.
Some victims did receive vehicles, but when they attempted to return them as faulty, were promised exchanges or refunds which never materialised. He pretended refunds were made but the money never reached victims’ bank accounts, or cheques were given that bounced. Sometimes more expensive vehicles were offered as a new deal which resulted in more of the victim’s money being extracted.
Butt pleaded guilty to all 23 charges and admitted to 13 out of 15 further matters to be taken into consideration. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison.
In passing sentence, the judge, Miss Recorder S Campbell, said that Butt was a: “thoroughly dishonest 43 year old man, who had learned nothing from his previous sentence but had extracted money from members of the public, agreeing to supply vehicles and getting money in advance then using delaying tactics. While on police bail he had the temerity to continue offending, knowing police were investigating. The victims were ordinary people who could not afford to lose the money paid and suffered stress and sleepless nights. There was high culpability and significant planning was involved.”
Cllr Paul Gittings, Reading’s Lead Member for Consumer Services, said: “This unscrupulous man lied and left unsuspecting people not only out of pocket, but in some instances with faulty cars. This is a great example of successful joint working between the Council’s Trading Standards team and the police. I want to congratulate all teams involved for their outstanding work in this investigation and hope it acts as a deterrent to other would be fraudsters out there.”