A CAR dealer took £156,500 from customers for two luxury cars but failed to supply them.
Mark Davison, from Seaham, was paid the money for two Ferraris by two Hong Kong businessmen who saw his adverts on a motoring website, Durham Crown Court heard.
Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said Davison made a string of excuses for the non-arrival of the cars, including that one of the car owner’s divorce proceedings meant the transaction could not proceed.
Ms Masters added: “Davison claimed he had £121,000 in his personal account to cover what he had been paid.
“It emerged the £121,000 was in the form of a cheque from another company, Real Boys Toys, of which he was a director.
“Real Boys Toys had previously closed due to bad debts and the cheque failed to clear.
“The customers eventually tired of all the excuses and called the police.”
The court heard Davison told detectives he had done nothing wrong and they were simply legitimate business transactions which had not turned out as he had hoped.
Davison, 46, of The Meadows, Seaton, admitted two charges of fraud, and one of perverting the course of justice. He has a previous conviction for obtaining by deception in 2006.
While he was working for a prestige car dealer, Davison used customers’ details without their knowledge to obtain loans.
Rod Hunt, defending, said: “This is not someone who is criminal throughout, but something of a Walter Mitty character who cannot get every deal right.
“The two victims in this case had previously had satisfactory dealings with him.”
The Recorder, Mr Jonathan Aitken, sentenced Davison to a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of unpaid work.
Recorder Aitken said: “I accept these started out as legitimate transactions, but you used the money elsewhere which ultimately made these dealings dishonest.”
A court hearing later this year will decide if any of Davison’s cash or assets can be seized as the proceeds of crime.