Unsuspecting Motorhome Owners Defrauded of $495,000 by Middleman; Here's How He Pulled it off
How Motorhome Ireland director pulled off a $4,95,448 fraud
Motorhomes are supposed to make people warm and safe within surroundings that remind them of their abode, which is why no one expects to be robbed while trading one. This makes the case of a businessman admitting to siphoning off more than $4,95,448 from 15 motorhome owners even more appalling, as per BBC. Lancelot William Walker, a director of Motorhome Ireland Ltd. who is 61 years old and belongs to Ballynahinch Road in Carryduff, Ireland, was sentenced to three years in prison by Newry Crown Court. It was reported that most of these victims were elderly and vulnerable motorhome owners. Walker told his victims that he would sell their motorhomes and deliver the money of the sale to them or use their profits towards payment for another motorhome.
Walker pleaded guilty to 16 dishonesty offences which were committed between 22 August 2005 and 21 August 2008. These crimes included 14 counts of fraud by false representation and single charges of obtaining property by deception and concealing criminal property. He was also barred from serving as the director of any company for the next 10 years.
It was also reported that there is much evidence of the proceeds going into the company's bank account. Most of the victims, "never saw their money" and the two who did, saw their cheques getting bounced later. The court said that the total proceeds were somewhere around $5,18,326.98.
The judge said that a chartered accountant had been employed to conduct a thorough audit of the company's finances. It was then reported that this accountant found major " unexplained trading losses" and said the "vehicles were also being double financed. They were retaining $2,21,678.07 due to being open to customers, and there was no payment of debts. Some more unexplained payments to directors also surfaced "including a $63,155.60 withdrawal which was transferred to the defendant".
The judge also said that the court saw several victims getting impact statements which were evidence of the "devastating effect" of the frauds upon them.
Walker was interviewed a lot of times in 2009 and he denied all his crimes several times in those interviews. At the time, he said that he was not aware of the company's financial crisis and claimed that his sister and fellow director knew about it, as she was the one who was in "full control." The judge also said that there were clear signs of a breach of the defendant's right to have the case dealt with "within a reasonable time." He also talked about how the delay of 14 years has negated the "serious aggravating factor" of his fraud. The judge also talked about how there was mitigation in that Walker had entered a guilty plea which was "welcomed" by the PPS.
Cashing in on growing demand for motorhomes
An investigator revealed that the criminals are attacking buyers as they know that there is an increased demand for motorhomes, especially after the pandemic. In another specific case brought to light, a man named Simon Barker lost close to $6,188.68 to a "highly sophisticated fraud." He said that he spotted a motorhome on eBay and had emailed a person named Nathan Edgar Wright who claimed to be selling the vehicle on behalf of his father in Ireland. Barker also told the publication that the man then failed to send him a PayPal invoice. It was then that he was contacted by Paypal via a live chat window. "It certainly looked very convincing," Barker said.
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