Mr Issa Abuissa, 47, of Manchester Road, Reading, was sentenced on 25 May 2018, after a jury at Reading Crown Court found him guilty of 14 counts of fraud related to his used car business.
Mr Abuissa formerly operated a used car business under various names including Binfield Trade Cars, Budget Trade Cars, Budget Car Sales, Compare Trade Cars and Crown Auto Motors from his premises in Moor Lane, Binfield.
The sentencing, which followed a long and complex investigation by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Trading Standards Service working with the PPP Joint Case Management Unit, was prosecuted by Wokingham Council’s legal team.
The investigation was commenced when the Trading Standards Service received complaints from the public who felt they had been misled by Mr Abuissa.
Following a 2-week trial that finished on the 17 May, the jury found Mr Abuissa guilty of 4 counts of supplying an article for use in fraud, after selling customers used cars with altered service books suggesting the cars had been serviced when they had not; 2 counts for possession of an article for use in fraud, where he had in his possession 2 false stamps used in service books, 4 altered service books, and 13 blank warranty booklets.
The remaining 7 counts were for dishonestly making false representations to customers who bought used cars from him. These false claims amounted to telling customers the cars had a full service history when they did not; that the car had the benefit of a WMS Group warranty when he did not intend to register the warranty applications; and in one instance falsely stating the car was in excellent condition.
Mr Abuissa was sentenced to a total 36 months in custody after the jury heard evidence from 14 members of the public who had bought used cars from Mr Abuissa.
Cllr Norman Jorgensen (Wokingham Borough), Chairman of the Joint Public Protection Committee, said:
“The investigation into the activities of Mr Abuissa revealed a wide range of dishonesty and a trail of victims. This was a complicated case that resulted in a two-week trial following which he was convicted of fourteen of the fifteen charges. The level of criminality is demonstrated by the sentence which the Committee hopes will send a clear message to anyone else thinking of engaging in this activity. Tackling crime related to vehicle sales is one of the PPP’s key objectives for this year. We urge anyone that has concerns about illegal activities relating to the sale of vehicles to contact us on 01635 519930”.
The Public Protection Partnership is a shared service of Bracknell Forest Council, West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council and delivers trading standards, environmental health and licensing functions.