A BERKSHIRE car dealer has been found guilty of fraud and selling dangerous cars.
Carl Wareham, aged 63, trading as Maxus Automotive or Car Nation on Forest Road, Warfield, was convicted at Reading Crown Court of misselling cars, their warranties and adapting car service books as well as the sale of unsafe vehicles.
He was sentenced to a total of 21 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.
The case was prosecuted by Bracknell Forest Council after consumer complaints.
In June 2017, a member of the public reported the dealer after having immediate problems with a car they’d been sold by Wareham, who had refused a refund. The car’s service book was found to have two fake service stamps.
Further enquiries led to a warrant being executed at the site on Forest Road, and similarly altered service books were found together with details of warranties that had been paid for by consumers but never registered.
In one case, a car advertised with six months’ warranty cover and a full service history was found to have seven fake stamps in its service book and no warranty.
After a two-week trial at Reading Crown Court, Wareham was found guilty of 16 counts of fraud contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 and one count relating to the supply of unsafe vehicles contrary to the General Product Safety Regulations 2008. He was acquitted of a further three fraud charges.
Bracknell Forest councillor John Harrison, a member of the joint public protection committee run in association with councils in West Berkshire and Wokingham, said: ‘This was a serious case of dishonesty.
‘Consumers have every right when buying cars and other goods to expect traders to be honest in their dealings. In this case there was serial fraudulent offending, as well as offending relating to six unsafe vehicles, which was of particular concern.
‘Investigation and prosecution of cases of this type are by their nature complex. In this case, the painstaking work conducted by trading standards and the case management unit have brought about an important conviction that I hope will send a clear message to anyone thinking of defrauding their customers.’