A pair of rogue car salesmen face jail after making thousands of pounds duping the public into buying dodgy vehicles, following an extensive investigation by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and partner agencies.
Isleworth Crown Court was told on Friday November 20 how Erk Dymiter, 24, and Krystian Skowronski, 28, ‘clocked’ second-hand cars by reducing the mileage and provided false documentation when selling the BMWs, Audis and Mercedes in West Kensington.
In court, both defendants admitted conspiracy to defraud and Mr Skowronski admitted a further charge of money laundering, following an extensive and collaborative three-year investigation by Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s trading standards and anti-fraud teams and national agencies.
“The actions of these rogue traders not only put the safety of our residents at risk but could also undermine trust in those honest businesses which serve the borough,” said Cllr Wesley Harcourt, H&F Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and Residents’ Services.
“I commend our teams whose tenacious work has brought this pair to justice and hopefully whatever sentence is given will serve as a warning that we won’t accept criminal behaviour
Following complaints from the public that a car had been falsely described, an investigation was launched, led by Hammersmith & Fulham’s Trading Standards in partnership with the Corporate Anti-Fraud Team, supported by the National Trading Standards, tri-regional scambusters team and the National Trading Standards E-Crime unit.
The court heard the investigation discovered cars were being advertised on the Autotrader or Gumtree websites. Potential buyers were then met by the defendants or their accomplices in various locations in West Kensington.
The pair used false names and telephone numbers to hide their identities and the cars were sold with false MOTs and service histories and in some cases, the mileages had been reduced by as much as 100,000 miles.
Evidence showed the pair had tampered with at least 15 cars.
In September 2013, following raids by Trading Standards on two addresses in West Kensington and one in Ealing, the E-Crime unit forensically examined phones and laptops where evidence of the pair’s conspiracy was uncovered.
At Mr Skowronski’s home in Gibbs Green, West Kensington, £6,550 in used bank notes from the sales was found and a raid on a safety deposit box indirectly linked to Mr Dymiter turned up another £4,120 of cash, suspected to be proceeds from the scam.
Mr Dymiter, of Cheesemans Terrace, West Kensington and Mr Skowronski were both released on conditional bail to reappear on January 8 2016 for sentencing.
His Honour Judge Winstanley warned the pair all options, including custody would be considered.
To avoid buying a clocked car yourself, check the MOT history of any car for free on your mobile phone. Make sure there are no discrepancies between the mileage on the speedometer and that shown on the previous MOTs.
If you wish to speak to an officer from the Trading Standards team, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8753 1081.