Car fraud mum gets two years

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A mum masterminded a bizarre £730,000 fraud - from which she hardly made a penny, a court heard.

Car showroom reception assistant June Hoystead had punters flocking by offering them cut-price new cars.

She sourced BMWs, Minis and Land Rovers, selling them at half the normal price - although she bought them at full price.

When she could not cover her mounting losses, the police were called in and discovered six customers were £544,585 out of pocket.

One man lost £288,000 after handing Hoystead £316,000 to buy 67 cars and only receiving three.

Despite the sums involved, there was no evidence Hoystead, aged 52, had spent the proceeds on anything apart from a few clothes and a couple of budget holidays.

In total she ordered 133 vehicles for the six complainants, who handed her £730,000, but only 16 were delivered.

Hoystead, of Coterel Crescent, Cantley, admitted six counts of fraud and was jailed for two years at Sheffield Crown Court.

The offences happened between April, 2010, and November, 2011 when Hoystead worked for the Evans Halshaw Citroen franchise in Doncaster.

Her scam began when she bought a £15,000 Toyota Avensis for her brother but he went to Afghanistan and did not need it.

So she sold the car to Des Bennett for £7,000 making an £8,000 loss and from then on tried to cover her losses, said Laura Marshall, prosecuting.

She told him she was able to obtain new cars at knockdown prices by using her staff discount or pooling it with other members of staff to get bargains.

Mr Bennett was so impressed he ordered 67 cars from her and deposited £316,000 in her bank accounts. Word soon spread about the cheap vehicles and Pouran Singh gave her £133,950 and placed an order for 50 cars while others also handed over cash for cars.

When arrested by police she said she had promised to get the cars for her customers but realised she could not get them cut-price.

She felt under pressure, particularly from Mr Bennett who after his bargain buy asked her for “more and more” cars.

“He began to deposit large amounts to pay for those vehicles but she was unable to get those cars,” said Miss Marshall. “She needed more money to cover the losses and others became involved.”

Andrew Smith, defending, said: “This is to say the least a series of offending which has the most unusual features. There is no pot of gold here.”

He went on: “I have to acknowledge that honest people have lost a considerable amount of money. But some were happy with what happened. It does beg the question as to what they thought was going on here when a receptionist was able to promise time after time these cracking deals for cars.”

Judge Paul Watson said Hoystead had glowing testimonials and ordinarily was a “decent and caring mother.”

She had not set out to be dishonest from the outset. “It was one which grew and grew causing these extremely substantial losses,” he said.