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Car salesman was pressurised into fraud by boss
2:50pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
AN Audi car salesman who was pressurised by his boss into joining a £37,500 fraud against their employers has avoided prison.
At Gloucester Crown Court a judge accepted that Gary Smith, aged 42, of Dorothy Crescent, Northwick, Worcester, did not benefit from the scam and only took part because of threats from his manager.
Smith pleaded guilty to fraud against Parklands Audi of Gloucester by abusing his position as a salesman between July 12 last year and April 2 this year to operate a fake cashback scheme. Judge William Hart sentenced him to 12 months jail suspended for 18 months and ordered him to do 180 hours of unpaid work.
The judge said he accepted that Smith, a dad with no previous criminal convictions, had been co-erced into the fraud by Craig Wellings, 44, of Church Lane, Worcester.
Wellings has pleaded guilty to the same charge and is due to be sentenced at a later date.
“He got you to play your part by threats both of a physical nature and as to your future employment,” said the judge.
“He said you would lose your job.”
The judge said he was satisfied from references he had read about Smith and from a report by a police financial investigator that he had not benefited from the scam.
The judge said: “I am led to the conclusion thay you are in fact a thoroughly decent man who has been hard working throughout your life. I am confident we shall not see you in court again.”
Edward Hetherington, prosecuting, had told the court that bosses at Parklands Audi were concerned profits were lower than they should be and launched a spot audit while Smith and Wellings were on holiday.
They found that 37 cars had been sold with £1,000 cash back on each and another with £500 cash back.
But the money had been paid into Wellings’ bank account.
Smith was compliant when arrested, admitted his role, and provided information which brought the case to a speedy conclusion, Mr Hetherington said.
Jon Holmes, defending, said Smith has already found a new job despite telling his new employers about the offence.