A Doncaster businessman has been jailed for four years for defrauding companies out of £461,146 in an elaborate land development scheme.
Jason Lee Churchill, formerly of Bridge Road, Bessacarr, was jailed for four years following a three-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
The jury heard how, in 2009, Churchill, 46, approached a number of different companies across the country trying to sell land and property development deals in Yorkshire. The court heard at that time, the recession was beginning to take hold and selling assets was difficult.
Churchill negotiated with companies and individuals to buy their properties through his company Bridge Properties (Yorkshire) Limited, negotiating on the sale price and asking for an additional ‘vendor gifted deposit’, which gave him an extra discount on the price.
He arranged for the cash to be deposited in separate bank accounts until the arranged deals completed, on the same date in June 2009.
This money went towards buying what was effectively a car park in Bradford, from another of Churchill’s companies, Astoria Properties Limited.
It was later discovered, through the South Yorkshire Police investigation, that the cash was used to pay Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) an outstanding sum of money.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman involved in the investigation said: “The police investigation began in 2009 when South Yorkshire Police received intelligence from a number of financial institutions.”
Churchill, now of Duchy Grove, Harrogate was found guilty on Monday November 24 of three counts of fraud by false representation following a three-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
He was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday.