A car dealer has been sent to prison for three years and seven months after he tricked customers into paying to buy and restore vehicles that in some cases weren’t his to sell.
Scott Nicolson, 45, of Warren Lane, Witham St Hughs, Lincolnshire, was found to have duped customers out of more than £400,000 after his Jaguar E-Type specialist dealership fell into financial difficulty.
The dealership Barbary Hill Ltd went into administration in December 2018 and it was then that customers realised what had been going on.
One customer, Australian multi-millionaire Scott Shearman, paid Nicolson nearly £130,000 to source an early E-Type that was to be restored and displayed within a collection.
Within weeks of being paid for the vehicle, Barbary Hill went into administration.
Another customer had bought nine Jaguars from the business. He paid £98,150 for one car and to have it restored, but it transpired Nicolson had exported the car to Portugal without his permission.
The Lincolnite reported that Nicolson’s defence, Neil Sands, explained that the car dealer had invested a lot of money in a car that turned out to be ‘essentially worthless’.
After Barbary Hill went into administration, the investigation that followed revealed what had been happening.
Nicolson had convinced buyers to hand over their money thinking they were paying for an E-Type and its restoration.
He would send regular updates and photos to them but in reality these cars usually belonged to other customers.
The Daily Mail reported that Nicolson pleaded guilty on two counts of theft and two of fraud between November 2017 and November 2018.
He was sentenced to three years and seven months in jail but his victims will receive no compensation.
He was found to have benefitted by £409,146 from the crime, but with no available assets he was ordered to pay £1 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
According to The Lincolnite, Judge Simon Hirst, passing sentence, said: ‘The reason for these offences is that you made a bad business decision and you were trying to repair the loss.
‘That is of little comfort to those you have stolen from and defrauded.
‘It is incredibly unfortunate that those who have lost money cannot be repaid.’
Main Image: Stock library picture of a Jaguar E-Type
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