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£100,000 Bill For Waltham Cross-Based Conman

PUBLISHED: 12:16 16 December 2009 | UPDATED: 13:22 01 February 2010

A CONMAN, based in Waltham Cross who ripped off people trying to sell cars, has been ordered to repay £100,000 of the money he gained from his fraudulent business.

Dervis Sammali will receive a two-year prison sentence should he default on the payment, St

A CONMAN, based in Waltham Cross who ripped off people trying to sell cars, has been ordered to repay £100,000 of the money he gained from his fraudulent business.

Dervis Sammali will receive a two-year prison sentence should he default on the payment, St Albans Crown Court heard on Friday (December 11). The confiscation hearing ruling follows an investigation by Hertfordshire County Council's Trading Standards Service.

Sammali and Tahsin Gerceker were key players in a 'car-matching' scam run by Waltham Cross-based Pro Ads Limited, trading as Proseller, which guaranteed its customers an immediate sale of their cars - a service which Trading Standards officers could find no evidence of ever being provided.

They were given 10-month and six-month sentences respectively at St Albans Crown Court in September 2008 after they admitted to 150 offences under the Trade Descriptions Act at an earlier hearing.

They pleaded guilty to 30 counts of making statements which they knew to be false. Sammali, 23, of Lawson Road, Enfield, asked for a further 87 offences, and Gerceker, 32, of Hyde Park Avenue, Winchmore Hill, a further 33 offences, to be taken into consideration. The offences covered a period from August 2006 to April 2007.

Judge John Plumstead said at the time that it was "as bad a trail of trading standards offences as I can imagine", branding the scam an "organised fraud on a wide scale" which involved "cold-blooded personal cheating" and "lying to the public purely for profit".

The prosecution sought confiscation of £136,000 - money that had been drawn out of the bank accounts of these businesses by Sammali.

Judge Griffith rejected Sammali's argument that the money had been spent on genuine business expenses.

Now divorced, banned as a director for 10 years and with his house re-possessed, Sammali claimed to be "asset-less" and without any income or property stored away by family or friends on his behalf.

However, the prosecution argued that the costs could be met by £268,000 of other income within the business. Sammali claimed that this was spent on wages and other business costs, but did not have the records to prove it.

Judge Griffith told the court that he found it hard to accept that Sammali had not discussed financial matters with his father on a recent trip to Cyprus to his sister's wedding.

He accepted that a quarter of the money drawn out may have been spent, but was satisfied that the rest amounted to "hidden assets" and that funds would be available in the UK or Cyprus where Sammali's father lived.

Keith Emsall, Executive Member for Community Safety and Culture, said: "I'm delighted that the judge recognised the seriousness of this fraud. These were not a few isolated offences but examples of cynical trading practices. There are strict laws in place about false claims by traders. Put simply, if you advertise and take money for goods or services that will not materialise, you are running a scam, not a business and you will find yourself in court."

Hertfordshire Trading Standards is repeating its advice to consumers not to buy from cold callers and never to give out credit card details unless they are confident in the services offered and intend to go through with the deal.

For information and advice about consumer issues contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 between 8am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 1pm Saturday (excluding bank and public holidays) or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk

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