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  1. ITV Report

Luxury car dealer jailed for scamming customers out of £1.3m

A luxury car dealer has been jailed for scamming customers out of £1.3m.

Gwyn Meirion Roberts was sentenced to seven years for taking cash and part-exchange vehicles for high-end cars including Porsches and Range Rovers that were never delivered.

More than 50 people fell victim to his scam.

Judge Huw Rees at Caernarfon Crown Court said Roberts' offending amounted to an abuse of "power, trust and responsibility". The judge said Roberts, 50, of Dolgoed, Llandudno Junction deliberately targeted some victims based on their vulnerability.

During the trial the prosecution said Roberts set up deals "too good to be true" in order to secure money from customers. The judge told him:

You dealt with your customers in a shockingly underhand way.

– Judge Huw Rees

Prosecuting barrister Matthew Corbett Jones said during 2015 Roberts was "robbing Peter to pay Paul" to keep his business, Menai Vehicle Solutions of Parc Menai, Bangor, going.

He told the court many of his customers felt "humiliated and embarrassed" by being the victims of fraud and had suffered significant financial losses. In continuing to trade, the prosecutor added, Roberts had put his customers at risk of loss.

Roberts had denied taking cash and part-exchange vehicles for high-end cars that were never delivered. Giving evidence during the trial he had insisted he intended to honour all deals and deliver all the vehicles. But the jury delivered guilty verdicts on a charge of fraudulent trading and 22 charges of fraud.

Roberts was cleared of fraud against two customers.

Menai Vehicle Solutions went into voluntary liquidation on October 2, 2015. At the time of the collapse, creditors were owed £1,308,879 and 50 customers were awaiting delivery of vehicles.

Roberts had set up the company in 2008 and it had traded successfully for a number of years, supplying new and used cars and small commercial vehicles.

He told the jury he supplied vehicles to senior police officers and members of the judiciary and all customers were said to be happy at the deals they were being offered.

Defence counsel John Philpotts said the business run by Roberts was initially legitimate and legitimate activity continued during the fraudulent activity in 2015.

Noting Roberts had been on bail for more than three years awaiting the conclusion of the case, the barrister added:

He has suffered badly from the loss of his reputation which is something which is important to him.

– John Philpotts

Roberts showed no emotion as he was led from the dock to begin his sentence.

After the hearing Detective Sergeant Christopher Hargrave said:

Gwyn Meirion Roberts has today been sentenced to seven years in prison, having been found guilty of 23 counts of fraud and fraudulent trading. This has been a complex and time-consuming investigation by North Wales Police and we welcome the sentence today. Over 50 members of the public lost large amounts of money when they placed their trust in Gwyn Roberts to deliver the deals he promised them. Those losses amounted to over £1.3 million. He knew at the time of making those promises that there was a significant risk to the victims' money. His continued trading, even though the business had failed, was only an attempt to maintain his pride and his lifestyle.

– Detective Sergeant Christopher Hargrave