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Trader jailed after £80,000 fraud

Published on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A FRAUDULENT trader who cheated companies out of tens of thousands of pounds for non-existent promotional goods has been jailed for 40 months.

Alan Weston, aged 33, of Impey Close, Thorpe Astley, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulent trading in respect of two companies he ran between December 2011 and August 2015, in an appearance before Leicester Crown Court.

The court heard how Weston had been the director of two companies – Promoprods Ltd and 8th Wonder Merchandise Ltd – which both sold branded promotional products such as a USB sticks, pens and water bottles. 

Between 2011 and 2015 he defrauded companies out of more than £80,000 by methods including ordering and receiving goods from suppliers but never paying them; taking advance payment from customers for goods which he failed to supply, and offering free gifts to entice people to order goods, but then failing to supply them.

He also continued to trade under the name Promoprods Ltd even when the company was dormant.

The court was told how Weston had responded to complaints from customers with excuses ranging from being in hospital, undergoing surgery, having a brain cyst, family members dying and blaming various courier services.

In all, 24 businesses made complaints to Leicester City Council’s Trading Standards team as part of its investigations, one of which went bust as a result.

In addition to the 40-month jail term, Leicester Crown Court also disqualified Weston from being a director for eight years, at a hearing on Tuesday, November 21.

A separate hearing is due to take place in early 2018 to set out confiscating the proceeds from Weston’s fraudulent activities.

Leicester deputy city mayor with responsibility for regulatory services, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “We are pleased with this prosecution which is the result of a lot of hard work by our Trading Standards team.

“Dozens of companies were affected by this fraud, which totalled more than £80,000. This prosecution shows that we will, and do, take action against fraudsters, as well as looking to recover the proceeds he made from his illegal activity.”