Two brothers from Staffordshire have been sentenced at Stafford Crown Court for their part in a £350,000 car clocking scam.
Nathan Muronda aged 45 of Dimsdale Parade West, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, was sentenced to ten months imprisonment , ordered to pay £2,500 in costs and a £140 victim surcharge. Slybeat Muronda aged 41 of Lingfield Road, Cannock, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay costs of £2,500 and a £140 victim surcharge.
The pair were sentenced after previously pleading guilty to offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
It follows a four-year investigation by officers from Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service which revealed the criminal duo began importing high performance sports cars from Japan in 2010.
The pair sold the cars on various internet car sales sites. The mileages shown on the advertisements and documents for selling the cars were lower than the true mileage travelled by the vehicles. The pair did this to increase the value of the cars before selling them on at inflated prices to unsuspecting victims.
Many buyers were enthusiasts and collectors who bought the highly sought after cars as investments. Models included the Nissan Skyline, Toyota Supra and Mitsubishi Evo.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “Car clocking is an age-old crime and is something that our Trading Standards team continues to deal with.
“Car clocking is where criminals deliberately tamper with vehicles’ odometers to reduce milage and increase the value of used cars. In this particular case, the cars involved were older sports/performance types that are appealing to enthusiasts, collectors and investors.
“This isn’t a victimless crime. We know that not only were people in Staffordshire affected but buyers from across the country and even in the USA and Canada were also caught up in the scam. We are pleased that this case has reached a satisfactory outcome and I would remind other traders thinking about the practice, that we will take prompt action where we see it happening.”
His Honour Judge Edwards thanked those involved in the case for the ‘monumental amount of work on the case’. He went on to say that the brothers had been involved in serious offending.
Judge Edwards said this was a highly sophisticated operation, with consumers unwittingly buying clocked vehicles, with the brothers seriously misrepresenting the cars being sold. He went on to say that clocking cars is a seriously deceitful occupation, which undermines consumer confidence in the car trade, with purchasers being deceived about the essential features of the car.
The case was heard at Stafford Crown Court on Wednesday 28 June. Nathan Muronda has already served 11 months on remand and is not required to spend further time in prison.
Anyone with information about potential fraudulent behaviour should call the police on 101 or the Staffordshire trading standards confidential line on 01785 330356.