Former Gloucester Audi salesman jailed for cashback scam
SPIRALLING financial problems brought on by paying for two families forced a car salesman to steal £37,500 from his bosses.
Parklands Audi dealership manager Craig Wellings, 44, of Church Lane, Worcester, took £1,000 false cashback payments from car sales and banked it in to his own account, Gloucester Crown Court heard.
He was jailed for 12 months yesterday, after his co-accused Gary Smith escaped a custodial sentence last week.
Prosecutor Edward Hetherington said the deception was uncovered when Wellings was away from the Gloucester dealership on holiday.
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"After sales, Mr Wellings and his colleague would go back to the transaction and they would change the paperwork and make it look like there was £1,000 of cashback to the customer. It is said there were 38 transactions and £37,500 of cashback credit, not to the customer but one debit card number – it was Mr Wellings' own bank card."
When he returned from holiday, he was suspended and admitted the fraud in police interview after being arrested in Newquay, Devon.
"He said he needed money to pay bills and fund his lifestyle," said Mr Hetherington.
Tim Greaves, defending, said he had no one to turn to when faced with financial difficulties and the crimes were committed over a period of eight months.
"In simple terms, he has two families and was finding it hard to finance them," said Mr Greaves, who told the court he worked in a bank before going into car sales.
"That does not excuse this. He is clearly very remorseful and he takes responsibility.
"He said there was some financial benefit to Mr Smith but it is accepted it went into his bank account and he gave cash to Mr Smith. However, there is no audit trail to prove that."
Smith's basis of plea when he was sentenced was that he did not benefit financially, and that was accepted by the judge then.
Jailing Wellings for 12 months, Judge William Hart said: "This was stealing from your employers, you had a responsible position and it was your idea."
Smith was sentenced to 12 months' prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.