A DISHONEST car dealer who gave his customers sleepless nights has been jailed for four years.
Forty-three-year-old Waheed Hussain Butt left people out of pocket or with faulty cars – and he falsified delivery documents and issued cheques that bounced.
Reading.gov.uk reported that Butt, of Wincanton Road, Reading, admitted 23 counts under the 2006 Fraud Act and admitted 13 of 15 other matters that were taken into consideration.
Reading Crown Court, where he appeared via video link from prison, was told that while on probation for other offences he used the Gumtree website to advertise vehicles for sale. Customers would send him either a deposit or full payment, sometimes without viewing the cars they were buying. Butt would then promise delivery within a few days.
He frequently falsified delivery documents, and when the deliveries failed his customers were given excuses. Many received neither a vehicle nor a refund.
Some customers who did receive vehicles tried to return them because they were faulty. They were promised exchanges and refunds which never came, or were given cheques which bounced.
He acted fraudulently despite being on probation for previous offences, the court heard.
The judge, Miss Recorder Campbell, described Butt as a ‘thoroughly dishonest man’. She said the victims were ordinary people who could not afford to lose money and suffered stress and sleepless nights.
Police and trading standards officials teamed up to bring Butt to justice.
After the hearing, 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.’
He hailed the operation to bring Butt to justice as ‘a great example of successful joint working between the council’s trading standards team and the police’.
A Gumtree spokesperson said: ‘We take fraud very seriously and are totally committed to tackling scams and educating people about how to avoid them.
‘Our advice for people buying cars can be found on our website, along with our dedicated advice page about how to spot a scam. We encourage anyone that thinks they may have come across a scam to report it to us immediately.
‘Our dedicated safety team can investigate and take action such as blocking the offender from the site and aiding the police in their investigation. Millions of people use Gumtree every day and the vast majority have a safe and successful experience.’
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