Karz 2 Go Ltd which operated in both Worthing and Storrington offered to market cars on a sale or return basis for their owners. However, even when sold to new owners and payment received in full, the car dealership did not pass the money on.
The business was run by former police detective constable Aziz Saleem who at Chichester Magistrates Court admitted nine offences of neglect as the company director, resulting in his company providing false information to the car sellers in 2011.
When the sellers tried to find out what was happening they were lied to or misled by Aziz Saleem’s staff. They were told stories such as the car hadn’t been sold, or payment had been delayed because it had been bought on finance which was still being completed.
The court heard that some customers had even agreed to reduce the price of their cars to help them sell. In fact the cars had already been sold and Saleem had received full payment. Customers were then advised by a business insolvency company that the firm was in financial difficulties. It eventually stopped trading and no money was paid to customers.
Saleem was ordered to pay £29,250 compensation to his victims, £14,000 in costs, and banned for three years from being a company director.
West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member Lionel Barnard, who is responsible for the Trading Standards Service, said: “This was an excellent result for the customers who had been duped, and shows the difference that West Sussex Trading Standards can make for consumers who had lost large amounts of money.
“Under civil law the car owners would have had little chance of getting their money back.
“However we successfully held the company director criminally liable for his actions, which meant thousands of pounds were awarded to his victims as compensation.”