A car dealer who was caught with a fleet stolen luxury vehicles in his basement has been ordered to pay back more than £1.3 million.
Chirag Patel was jailed for eight years last October after the discovery of his “off-the-books” car rental business, which hired out Range Rovers, Mercedes, and a Porsche Cayenne to his associates and friends.
The vehicles had been stolen over the course of three years, and Patel gave them new identities with fake number plates and documents from vehicles which had been crashed and written-off.
Fake number plates and documents
It was only when he reported that his own Porsche was stolen that he was caught out by officers who discovered an array of cars in the basement car park under his home in Croydon.
Back at Croydon Crown Court on Friday, he was ordered to pay back £1,369,661 in proceeds of crime or face an extra ten years in prison.
Patel was found guilty following a trial of conspiracy to handle stolen goods over 19 luxury vehicles taken between October 2012 and January 2015 and nine car keys stolen from Jaguar Land Rover’s plant in Solihull, West Midlands.
He was also convicted of money laundering over more than £530,000 of unexplained cash deposits into three bank accounts in his name.
When officers from the Serious Acquisitive Crime Unit in Croydon raided Patel’s home they also found 26 sets of car keys, a list of vehicles and registrations, equipment for accessing on-board computers in cars, and a cache of mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
Police recovered stolen vehicles worth £728,000 which Patel had used for his illegal car rental business and stored at homes owned by himself and his family.
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