A VEHICLE DEALER who made more than £50,000 after wiping thousands of miles off the clocks of vans has been jailed for four years.
Maxwell Alvey admitted buying the vans at auction and tampering with their mileage before selling them on to unsuspecting members of the public in a fraud that lasted for a year.
Alvey, 50, was jailed for two years for the scam at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday and a further two years for stealing £125,000 from his elderly aunt.
Sentencing him, Judge John Milmo QC said Alvey, of Gedling Road in Notts, had started the vehicle business with the intention of being dishonest from the very beginning.
Selling the vans mainly to sole traders, such as plumbers, threatened their livelihoods because the vehicles tended to break down shortly after purchase and buyers were liable for repair costs as Alvey would not reimburse them.
Prosecutor Adrian Reynolds told the court Alvey admitted fraud offences in relation to 55 vehicles but the Crown could show that more had been tampered with.
He said: “The prosecution’s position is that there were, in round figures, 90 vehicles that we could show were clocked”
Alvey made around £1,000 profit in relation to each vehicle, Mr Reynolds said. In relation to the theft of money from his aunt, the court heard that Alvey had power of attorney over her financial affairs because she was unable to handle them herself.
She lived in a care home and was left in a state of poverty when her nephew transferred her money into his own bank account.
Alvey’s fraud began with the inception of Premier Vans in the summer of 2009. He bought high-mileage vehicles at auction, reduced their mileage, advertised them locally and then sold them on for a profit, the court heard.
Some of them even broke down as they were being driven home by buyers who had just purchased them. When customers told Alvey they had to pay for repairs - which could cost between £600 and £1,000 - Alvey told them he would reimburse them, but never did.
Nottinghamshire County Council said Trading Standards officers launched an investigation after receiving a number of complaints that vehicles bought from Alvey’s company, Premier Van Centre, were showing an unusual amount of wear and tear for their mileage.
The shocking extent of the scam was uncovered when they cross-referenced the genuine mileage of the vehicles from auction house records with milometer readings in the vans and Auto Trader adverts placed by Alvey.
Unsuspecting new owners of the vehicles were traced through sales invoices found at Queen Ann Manor in Lime Lane, Arnold, where Alvey’s operation was based. In the worst example, Alvey took more than 275,000 miles off a Mercedes Sprinter van, clocking the genuine 364,370 milometer reading back to just 89,000, Trading Standards said.