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Former boss told to hand over assets
8:10am Friday 1st February 2013 in News
DISGRACED Worcester businessman Brandon Weston is to hand over his remaining assets of £11,000 after a criminal compensation hearing.
The 43-year-old former owner of estate agent Premier Places, who once owned seven houses in the city and a house in France, has remaining available assets of £11,715, a court was told.
Chris Williams, aged 48, who admitted three counts of forgery in the same fraud, was ordered to pay £10,000.
Daniel White, acting on Weston’s behalf in the Proceeds of Crime Application hearing at Worcester Crown Court, said there were two bank accounts which had been used to handle the mortgage for his house in France and the prosecution had been given a schedule of any other funds. Weston was ready to sign waivers which would release money from all the accounts, which have already been restrained by the prosecution so he could not use them.
“Once he signs the waiver, they can have every penny that’s in them,” Mr White said.
Weston, who once had a stake in Worcester’s Glasshouse restaurant, which he later sold, was given six months to pay and faces six months in jail if he defaults.
Mr White said the total benefits of the criminal conduct – money that passed through but not accumulated – amounted to nearly £160,000.
An earlier hearing scheduled for September last year in Hereford did not take place because of difficulties selling the property in France, but it had now been sold.
He was unable to sell a Chrysler Voyager to raise more money because it had been repossessed, the court was told.
Weston, of White Ladies Aston, near Worcester, was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, in September 2011 after he admitted four counts of fraud between April 2007 and February 2009.
He used the money paid in for his 203 tenants as deposits to finance other businesses instead of ring-fencing it.
Benjamin Williams for the prosecution, told the hearing most of the tenants had been reimbursed through an insurance scheme run by the National Approved Lettings Scheme. But there were others who had not received any money and he suggested a “small amount” of compensation might be in order.
“Something is better than nothing,” he said Chris Williams, of Church Lane, Whittington, near Worcester, was given an eight-month jail term in September 2011, suspended for two years, with an order to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work after he admitted three counts of forgery between June 1, 2007, and February 28, 2008. He forged an accountant’s signature to allow the fraud to take place.
Judge Richard Rundell refused an application by the prosecution to adjourn the case of Williams. He agreed with Malcolm Morse, defending, that the case had already gone on for a considerable time and a further delay would not be in the interests of justice.
Williams,the court was told, had available assets of £15,888.
The judge ordered that he should pay £10,000 straight out of a bank account and he was given 28 days to pay or face six months in jail.
The money is to go to the insurance companies who paid out to reimburse the tenants.
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