Fraudulent car dealer spared term in prison
A SUFFOLK dealer in luxury cars who conned customers out of �68,000 has walked free from court after being given a suspended prison sentence.
Darren Palmer, who ran Elite Wholesale Ltd, advertised cars for sale which were subject to finance and having obtained deposits from buyers continued to advertise the vehicles and take deposits from other would-be buyers, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Palmer, 42, of Knight Road, Rendlesham, admitted seven offences of fraud between February and April 2009 in relation to a Ferrari 599, a Bentley GT and a Range Rover.
Sentencing Palmer, Judge David Goodin said he had allowed himself to “get out of control” over a short period of time.
“You inflicted by your greed a great deal of suffering on others,” he said.
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He said that Palmer had not attempted to disguise his identity during the fraud and had otherwise conducted himself honestly in his life. “You got in over your head,” said Judge Goodin.
He said in the exceptional circumstances of the case he felt able to pass a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered Palmer to carry out 300 hours’ community service and be the subject of a 26-week curfew between the hours of 6pm-6am.
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A confiscation hearing will take place later in the year.
Godfried Duah, prosecuting, told the court that Palmer had embarked on a campaign of deceit in February 2009 during which he had advertised luxury cars for sale in magazines and the Auto Trader website.
He said that one of the cars was a �237,000 Ferrari which was subject to an outstanding amount of �117,000 finance. Palmer had negotiated a selling price of �110,000 with a customer and had taken a �5,000 deposit. He had then continued to advertise the car for sale and had accepted deposits from two further would-be buyers.
Mr Duah said Palmer had also taken a deposit from a customer for a �117,000 Bentley GT and had then taken a deposit from another customer for the same vehicle. A similar fraud had taken place in relation to a �74,000 Range Rover. Mr Duah said the total amount dishonestly extracted from customers by Palmer was �68,000.
Christopher Paxton, for Palmer, said his client was a family man with a young daughter.
He said the cars advertised by Palmer were real cars with genuine registration numbers and Palmer had provided customers with his name and telephone number.
He said Palmer had obtained money from seven innocent victims for cars he shouldn’t have been selling. However, detection had been inevitable as Palmer hadn’t sought to hide his identity.
He asked the court to pass a suspended prison sentence on Palmer to enable him to repay the victims of the fraud by way of compensation.