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Stowmarket car sales manager jailed for fraud

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

A car sales manager from Stowmarket who helped fraudulently obtain £343,000 from his employers has been jailed.

Patrick Burke, 52, of Combs Wood Drive, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday.

The court heard how the fraud had involved the private sale of 67 vehicles which had been handed over to Hammond Car Sales

in Ipswich in part exchange deals.

Burke, who was general sales manager, and his co-defendant David Garrett, who was trade sales manager at the company, used false invoices in an attempt to cover their tracks.

The fraud took place over a 10 month period between January 29 and November 11 last year and involved cars with a total value of £343,999.

Prosecuting, Christopher Kerr said it was possible that the actual loss to Hammond Car Sales could be as high as £500,000.

Company bosses had started to become suspicious, resulting in Burke being suspended while Garrett, 36, of Goldfinch Drive, Attleborough, resigned from his post.

Police later found that £360,000 had been paid into accounts held by Garrett while 35 transfers made to Burke’s bank account reached a total of £85,000.

Burke and Garrett both pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position by receiving the proceeds of vehicle sales to which they had not been entitled.

Appearing for Burke, Paul Donegan said the fraud had not been at the instigation of his client who had been Garrett’s boss,

Michael Clare, representing Garrett, said both defendants had been equally involved.

Judge Martyn Levett, who described the fraud as ‘skilled and planned’, jailed Burke for 45 months and Garrett for 40 months.

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