Car salesmen jailed after garage left £500,000 out of pocket

Hammond Cars in Ipswich. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Hammond Cars in Ipswich. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

Two car sales managers who were involved in a £343,000 fraud involving trade-in cars which were sold privately have been given jail sentences totalling more than seven years.

David Garrett has been jailed for 40 months following fraudulent sales at Hammond Cars, Ipswich. Pic

David Garrett has been jailed for 40 months following fraudulent sales at Hammond Cars, Ipswich. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE - Credit: Suffolk police

Over a period of 10 months 67 part exchange vehicles were sold and false sales invoices created to cover what was going on, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Before the court were Patrick Burke, who was employed as a general sales manager for Hammonds Car Sales in Ipswich, and David Garrett, a trade sales manager for the same company.

Jailing Burke for 45 months and Garrett for 40 months Judge Martyn Levett described the fraud as “skilled and planned” and said it was sad to see two men with good jobs succumb to temptation.

Christopher Kerr, prosecuting, said the total value of the cars involved was £343,999 but the total loss to Hammonds was estimated at between £400,000- £500,000.

Patrick Burke, who has been jailed for 45 months for his involvement in fraudulent sales at Hammond

Patrick Burke, who has been jailed for 45 months for his involvement in fraudulent sales at Hammond Cars, Ipswich. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE - Credit: Suffolk police

The court heard that concerns were first raised in 2016 and in October Burke was suspended. Garrett handed in his notice in November.

Mr Kerr said £360,000 was paid into Garrett’s accounts between January and November 2016 and £145,000 was paid to online gambling sites.

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There had also been 35 transfers to Burke’s account ranging from £150 to £6,000 totalling around £85,000.

He said that Burke had initially claimed he didn’t know about the fraud involving Hammonds and claimed that Garrett had asked him to look after money for him and he had agreed.

He had subsequently withdrawn that claim after the police saw text messages between him and Garrett.

Burke, 52, of Coombes Wood Green, Stowmarket, and Garrett, 36, of Goldfinch Drive, Attleborough, admitted fraud by abusing their positions as general sales manager and trade sales manager at Hammonds Car Sales by receiving proceeds of car sales they weren’t entitled to between January 29 last year and November 11 last year.

Michael Clare, for Garrett, claimed that what had gone on was a “50/50 venture” and said Garrett had given the police text messages supporting that claim.

Paul Donegan, for Burke, accepted he had been Garrett’s boss but said the fraud wasn’t his client’s idea.

A hearing under the proceeds of crime act will take place later in the year.

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