A three-year investigation into a car clocking scam which saw more than 7.5 million miles wiped off vehicle odometers has resulted in guilty verdicts against five men.
John Murphy, 67, from Conwy; Paul Arslanian, 38, from Conwy; Christopher Graham Lunt, 39, of Long Lane, Chester; Trevor Gareth Jones, 58, from Colwyn Bay, and Simon Richard Williams, 49, Fluin Lane, in Frodsham will all be sentenced next month after facing conspiracy to commit fraud at Chester Crown Court.
Guilty verdicts for four of the men - Lunt entered a guilty plea - followed a three-year trading standards investigation by Warrington Borough Council and Halton Borough Council.
Warrington and Halton trading standards began investigating the defendants, who all work for Runcorn-based chauffeur services company PCS Events Ltd, in 2013 after receiving information of alleged fraud and consumer protection offences.
The defendants sought to profit from a clocking operation, selling vehicles with inflated prices due to incorrect mileage readings.
A huge amount of evidence was gathered – including the cross-referencing of fuel records for vehicles, examining finance and warranty work records and recording the accounts of customers who had bought ‘clocked’ vehicles.
Investigators found that more than 100 vehicles had been clocked, with evidence of clocked vehicles dating from 2008 to 2014.
The minimum amount of clocking which is believed to have taken place is 7.5 million miles.
As well as gathering evidence against Murphy, Arslanian, Lunt, and Jones for altering the mileage of cars in the possession of PCS Events Ltd, the investigation by trading standards officers also revealed links to Williams, who carried out MOT testing of clocked vehicles, producing documents which showed incorrect mileage.
Automotive data experts, HPI played a significant role in the investigation.
Commenting on the case outcome, Barry Shorto, head of industry relations at Cap HPI, said: “There is a clear message to clockers – it’s only a matter of time before they are caught and brought to justice.
“This operation forms part of hpi’s commitment to its campaign against clocking, as well as raising awareness of the value of its National Mileage Register.”
The hpi Check includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, now with over 200 million mileage readings.
HPI also confirms whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance against it or has been written-off, making it the best way for consumers to protect themselves from fraudsters looking to make a fast profit.
Seven individuals were prosecuted for conspiracy to commit fraud in the case.
Two of the defendants, Laura Jayne Murphy of Long Lane, Chester and Kevin Paul Batty of Sutton in Craven, North Yorkshire, were acquitted of the charges.