Friday, November 19, 2010

Freight Transport And Removals Fraudster Docked 1.2 million

Kent Firm Boss Laundered Millions
Shipping News Feature

UK – Convicted fraudster Stephen Court who was convicted in June after defrauding HMRC of £3.8 million now faces a further six years in gaol after a confiscation hearing last week reviewed the money he had laundered to fund his lifestyle. Court, aged 57, ran Kent removals firm Transmove located in Bean near Dartford shipping groupage and full loads of trade removals around Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Initially Court’s sentence was given a reduced sentence after he appeared before the Judge using a wheelchair. His daughter Nicola Puttick, 29, was also sentenced to 18 months for money laundering after claiming she had used hundreds of thousands of pounds of the embezzled funds to pay for her father’s hospital treatment in the USA. Another accused, David Kemp, 36, received 3 years 4 months after pleading guilty to VAT fraud and conspiracy to defraud fuel suppliers and others. David Kemps uncle, Paul Kemp aka Marcus Laine aka Jean Paul Dalton absconded and was later arrested in Marseilles.

Now the authorities have traced £ 1.2 million in assets attributable to Court including homes in Kent and Spain plus vehicles and cash, all of which are forfeit if he is to avoid the additional 6 year term of imprisonment. The gang used a web of intrigue to set up false credit card accounts with forged driving licences, virtual office addresses, bank statements etc. The group had around two hundred bank accounts and it seems this led to their downfall. When two of them purchased kitchen furniture locally they did so using different identities thus sparking the investigation.

The Transmove shipping site still appears on the internet and in other freight and removal directories but the telephone number advertised has seemingly been disconnected. The affair has led to one of the largest and most costly investigations ever by local police.