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Car salesman warned he could face jail after jury finds him guilty of fraud

A car salesman has been warned he could face jail after a jury convicted him of fraud.

Company director James Rodriguez-Lay (38) had denied attempting a £30,000 “fiddle” on a top of the range Ford Focus which he sold and never delivered.

But a jury at Cardiff Crown Court returned a unanimous guilty verdict after deliberating for little more than an hour on Friday, reports Wales Online.

During a week-long trial they had heard from prosecutor Ieuan Morris how the dealer ran Redline Vehicle Solutions Ltd in Barry with a silent partner who was away at sea in the Merchant Navy.

He advertised the Focus on autotrade-mail.com and was paid £30,700 by Toomey Motors in Basildon, Essex.

After giving Redline’s bank details for payment, he contacted the company again within minutes to say there had been a mistake and telling them his personal bank account number instead.

Morris said: “He was overdrawn - he was a person without means - and he decided to commit a fiddle.

“He was blatantly dishonest.”

His Redline backer and silent partner Derek Knox, who had hoped to play a role in the business when he retired as a naval chief engineer, said the first he know about the car was when bailiffs knocked on his door.

He directed them to his business partner, not knowing the cash had gone into a personal account until Rodriguez-Lay called him days later saying “Derek, I’ve ----ed up”.

Rodriguez-Lay admitted during the trial that he lied to Toomeys and to others as the net closed in.

But he said he wasn’t being dishonest but was just “buying time” after the deal “went sour” at the Barry end.

He blamed the third party he said he was acting for in the sale, for not answering the phone when he tried to get the vehicle from them.

Morris said: “They had asked him to sell it for £35,000 and were keeping possession of it meanwhile.”

The prosecutor accused Rodriguez-Lay of living beyond his means by paying £1,350-a-month to rent a house in Cog Road, Sully for his family.

He will be sentenced next month and is now on bail.

But the judge, Recorder Phillip Hartley-Davies warned him: “That doesn’t mean that at the end of the day you will not receive a custodial sentence. All options are open.”

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