Meet the dodgy used car dealers that committed the worst crimes of 2022

  • We look back at some of the worst offences committed by rogue traders in 2022
  • Offences range from false advertising all the way up to stalking and murder
  • See our full list below…

Time 6:50 am, December 27, 2022

Like every industry, the automotive world has its fair share of folk who are just unwilling to do things above board.

While the vast majority are honest, law abiding citizens, some decide to take a different path and land themselves in trouble as a result.

To mark the end of 2022, we have been taking a look back at some of the worst – and weirdest – offences that have come up on our radar this year.

From murders to dodgy deals it’s been a mixed bag. Here is what we found…

Scottish car salesman loses appeals against murder conviction and sentence

Back in February we reported on the shocking case of Neil Anderson, a Scottish car dealer convicted of ‘assassinating’ his friend in a ‘brutal’ shooting.

The salesman lured his victim outside his home before an unknown gunman emerged from a Skoda Fabia and blasted him in the head and body.

One of the shots was so accurate and powerful that it passed directly through his brain.

After the incident, the gunman got back into the car and was driven away by accomplice Thomas Guthrie, who was paid £100,000 for his services.

Anderson was found to have organised the attack and sentenced to 21 years and nine months in prison for his involvement in the crime.

An appeal against his conviction was thrown out but a bid to slash his sentence was heard in full before being rejected by three judges.

He is now serving his sentence.

Convicted murderer Neil Anderson

Neil Anderson (Police Scotland)

Fraudster jailed for lying about setting up used car dealership to claim £25,000 Covid grant

This story is unique on our list as the person involved has never actually worked in the automotive industry at all.

Instead, Shaun James simply pretended to be a used car dealer as part of an elaborate plan to fraudulently pocket government money.

The 28-year-old lied about running a used car dealership so that he could claim a Covid Support Grant to the tune of £25,000.

The con artist went to huge lengths to make his scheme believable and even provided fake invoices for cars and a forged lease agreement for premises in Port Talbot.

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He was eventually caught out by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council before pleading guilty to an offence under the Fraud Act 2006 in April.

He appeared at Swansea Crown Court where he was handed a 15-month jail term.

The case mirrored a similar incident Car Dealer reported in February, which saw student Kurt Barkhuizen declared bankrupt.

Shaun James (South Wales Police)

Car dealer threatened to petrol-bomb man over speedboat row

One of the stranger stories on this list, in May we reported how a row over a speedboat got out of hand for a car dealer in Scotland.

Ross Lamb, also known as ‘Fat Ross’, and Clifford Henderson both believed they owned the boat after Lamb said it had been swapped with him for a car.

The car dealer admitted to making a threatening call to Henderson that was grossly offensive, or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.

Henderson had been made aware that his speedboat and trailer had been moved and was parked behind a shipping container but was verbally attacked by a group of youths when he went to retrieve it.

Clifford was told to call ‘Fat Ross’, and ended up speaking to Lamb, who said: ‘I’m going to petrol-bomb you all. I’ll take all your money and your house.’

The 34-year-old was later called to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, where he was fined £580 for his actions by sheriff Matthew Auchincloss.

Mechanics at Lancashire garage jailed for setting fire to autistic trainee with a blowtorch

Less than a week after we covered the petrol-bomb threat, we picked up another bizarre, no less horrifying story, from Preston Crown Court.

Four mechanics at a Lancashire garage were jailed after they were found to have set fire to a vulnerable trainee with a blowtorch.

The teenage victim, who suffers from autism, was bullied and abused by more senior members of staff at a garage near Blackpool, a police investigation found.

In one shocking incident, three attackers chased him around the unit aiming the blowtorch and accelerant towards his legs, while a fourth man leaned against a door to prevent him from escaping.

The offenders eventually stopped and could be seen laughing, having left the young worker in agony.

The quartet were later named as Adam Lavelle, 34, Michael Jeffrey, 31, Soldon Legdani, 23 and Simon Hickinbottom, 45.

All were sent to prison with their sentences ranging between 21 weeks and 18 months.

Left to right: Adam Lavelle, Michael Jeffrey, Soldon Legdani, Simon Hickinbottom. Image composite ⓒ Blackball Media.

Criminal car dealer forfeits properties and cash worth £1.14m following money laundering investigation

Peter Grubisic was forced to forfeit properties and cash worth £1.14m following an investigation by the National Crime Agency.

The NCA asserted that Grubisic’s declared income, largely from his car sales business, was not sufficient to fund his property purchases and luxury lifestyle, which included several business class flights to South America.

As a result, a deal was reached which saw him forfeit his property portfolio and money worth a total of £1.14m.

The settlement included five buy-to-let properties; a luxury property in Spain; a property with a development opportunity comprising of a site for eight dwellings; and £249,241 cash held in a bank account.

The 59-year-old, from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, has a long history of criminality dating back to the 1990s and is said to have links to organised criminals in the UK, Netherlands and Spain.

Car dealer fined £6,000 for selling dangerous vehicle as judge fires warning to ‘rapacious, crooked second-hand car salesmen’

Throughout 2022, we have covered countless stories about dodgy dealers who have mis-represented vehicles and sold dangerous cars.

This one however, is one that lives long in the memory – largely due to the brutal dressing down given by judge Jeremy Richardson KC.

Mark Roberts, pleaded guilty to a string of offences related to the sale of a second-hand Nissan Pathfinder from Fleet Cars Direct in Doncaster.

The 61-year-old admitted to using misleading advertising, selling a vehicle in a dangerous state and misleading the buyer about the mileage.

He also sold the customer, who complained to Doncaster council’s trading standards office, a suspect warranty.

Judge Richardson handed him a £6,000 fine and ordered him to pay costs totalling £7,395.

He then said: ‘In my judgement this is a serious example of a secondhand car salesman conducting his business operations in a comprehensively dangerous and illegal manner.

‘He is the architect of his own misfortune and let this be a very clear warning to any rapacious, crooked second-hand car salesmen.

‘In effect he was sold a worthless, old jalopy that should never have been on the road and that should never have been sold. The vehicle was dangerous.’

Car salesman avoids jail after leaving ex-girlfriend feeling ‘suicidal’ because of stalking campaign

Despite the sinister and nasty nature of his crimes, the thing that sticks in the mind about Zack Hurley was his unusual behaviour outside court.

After avoiding jail or a relentless campaign of stalking that left his ex-girlfriend feeling suicidal, Hurley was spotted stripped half naked and chugging champagne.

The Wigan-based car dealer had earlier admitted sending a torrent of abuse to former partner Alivia Carta over a five-month period but blamed the situation on his own mental health problems.

Bolton Crown Court heard that he began stalking the make-up artist following the break-up of their relationship and turned up uninvited at her home.

He was handed 20 months in jail suspended for two years after the judge ruled he showed signs of ‘genuine remorse’.

He stripped off his Dolce & Gabbana T-shirt and swilled on a bottle of Moet and Chandon from the boot of his car outside the court.

Car dealer tried to outrun police after taking Audi from showroom to drive friends from pub to party

Another car dealer to avoid jail in November was Christopher Parkhouse, who tried to outrun police in a vehicle he took from work to ferry friends from a pub to a party.

After spotting a police car, Parkhouse speeded along a number of roads in built-up areas. Police gave chase and said he was well in excess of the 30mph limit as he sought to get away

Parkhouse abandoned the car in a cul-de-sac and fled from the scene, leaving his friends in the car.

The 29-year-old initially denied driving the car during the pursuit and spent two weeks telling police that the Audi had been stolen from Axminster-based DC Select Cars.

He eventually admitted perverting the course of justice and driving without due care and attention at a hearing at Exeter Crown Court.

Recorder Rhys Hadden handed Parkhouse a 10-week prison sentence suspended for six months and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work plus 25 days of rehabilitation, as well as pay £1,000 costs.

Criminal car dealer has Porsche seized by police after conning buyers out of £1.3m

In recent months, we have written several stories about fake online car dealerships set up to con unsuspecting buyers out of their hard-earned cash.

Due to the nature of these enterprises, it has proved incredibly difficult for police to catch the culprits but officers in Kent did manage to catch up with a man behind one of the schemes.

The 32-year-old, who was not named, earned more than £1.3m by tricking people into buying vehicles that did not exist.

He was handed a 16-month suspended prison sentence for his role in the scheme and had his Porsche Panamera seized by police.

The saloon is now due to be auctioned off under the Proceeds of Crime Act, in a bid to recoup some of the money scammed by its former owner.

Detective Inspector David Godfrey, from Kent Police’s Financial Investigation Unit, said: ‘Criminals should not be allowed to live the high life after leaving prison until they have paid back everything they earned illegally, which is why the Proceeds of Crime Act allows us to continue seizing any assets they may come into in the future.’

Conman who raked in more than £1m via fake luxury car dealership websites is told to pay back £80,900

Another con artist who was caught by police was Ravinder Randhawa, who made more than £1m using fake websites which were identical to those of real luxury dealerships.

The 30-year-old cheated people by getting them to pay thousands as deposits for top-end vehicles, which he claimed to be selling at massively reduced prices.

He then duped them into giving him as much as £17,500 for the non-existent second-hand vehicles such as Porsches and Mercedes-Benzes.

Customers who then tried getting refunds were taunted with sexual and racist slurs, with Randhawa also mocking them for ‘just [buying] a picture on the internet’.

He was jailed for nine years at Exeter Crown Court where a Proceeds of Crime hearing ordered him to pay back £80,981.61.

Randhawa was ordered by Judge David Evans to hand over the full amount within three months or else spend two more years in prison.

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Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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