25 February 2015

A Corby car trader has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting altering the odometers of 13 vehicles he then sold.

Gershom Hatinawedu, who ran a car workshop in Geddington Road, Corby, was charged with 17 counts of fraud following an investigation by Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards officers.

False identities

The investigation revealed that Hatinawedu used false identities to buy cars cheaply on online auction sites. He then changed the odometers to a lower mileage before selling the cars on the Auto Trader website in order to make a greater profit.

One car had 130,000 miles taken off the clock. In total, over 750,000 miles were removed from odometers of cars he sold on.

Suspended sentence

Hatinawedu was sentenced to an 18-month suspended prison sentence and 250 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £500 costs during a hearing at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday 24th February). The court also imposed a six-month curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am.

Cllr André González de Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, said: “This was a blatant attempt to defraud customers who unknowingly bought vehicles that had travelled more miles, consequently with more wear and tear, than they were led to believe.

“This is a great result for our Trading Standards team and I hope it will serve as a deterrent to dishonest traders and demonstrate that we will not hesitate to take action where appropriate.

“Anyone who has concerns about the working practices of any business can contact Trading Standards by calling Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.”