Car dealership avoids jail for fraud, but postmaster jailed

AN ‘PAST’ used car salesman commits £ 160,000 post office fraud in an attempt to keep the business afloat.

Anthony Chediak was spared an immediate jail sentence by a Bournemouth Crown Court judge this week, a year and a half after the postmaster was jailed for fraud through abuse of position.

Chediak presented four checks totaling £ 160,000 to the Newtown Post Office in Sea View Road in September 2017.

These were to be paid into the accounts of two companies – Coastline Cars Limited and Coastline Vehicle Supply Limited, both registered in offices in North Road, Poole, which he ran at the time.

A change in the process at the Newtown Post Office, implemented by then-postmaster Douglas Grant, meant accounts were credited before funds were officially released.

Chediak then stopped the checks through his bank meaning the post office was £ 160,000 out of his pocket.

The 46-year-old, from Queens Park Avenue, Bournemouth, was given a 58-week prison sentence, suspended for two years at Bournemouth Crown Court on Tuesday 25 May, after admitting to a misrepresentation fraud offense during his trial. must start the day before.

Grant, now 60, formerly of Sea View Road, Poole, admitted a postmaster abuse of position fraud charge for his conduct in August and September 2017.

He was jailed for two years and four months at Bournemouth Crown Court in November 2019. The case had been subject to reporting restrictions, which were lifted following Chediak’s conviction.

The Newtown Post Office was permanently closed in October 2017.

Continuing, Russell Pyne said Chediak had “many connections” with the Newtown Post Office, which was extremely close to its business premises at Sea View Road.

Chediak had been a car salesman, but took on a higher role in early 2017 after his brother stepped down due to a family member suffering from ill health.

The court heard that the two companies were organized so that one buys vehicles and the other resells them.

The prosecutor said that on the morning of September 21, 2017, Chediak handed Grant four checks totaling £ 160,000, which were to be paid into the two business accounts.

“The company’s two bank accounts have been credited with £ 80,000,” said Mr Pyne.

“As a result, the two accounts, which had been heavily overdrawn, were converted to credit, so that businesses gained short-term liquidity and business could continue.”

Mr Pyne said the defendant stopped the checks on September 24 before they were honored.

Senior post office staff visited the Newtown post office on September 27 and spoke to Grant, who went to Chediak and returned with £ 25,000 in cash.

Mr Pyne said the “precise reason” for Grant’s change to processing checks was “unclear.”

Grant was suspended, the post office was closed, and Chediak was interviewed in due course, but he denied acting dishonestly.

Mr Pyne said the defendant was “pretty overwhelmed” in trying to keep the company’s accounts afloat.

Companies House confirms that Coastline Cars Limited was wound up in April 2018 and that Coastline Vehicle Supply Limited was dissolved five months later.

Mitigating for Chediak, Nick Cotter said his client “made bad decisions and regretted those decisions for a long time.”

Mr Cotter said Chediak did not go into the business as a fraudster, with around £ 700,000 in legitimately paid checks.

The lawyer said the arrangement with the post office saw “the money drain” from his client, who lost his family home and job as a result.

“He’s doing his best to redeem himself,” Cotter said.

Recorder Anna Midgely ruled that Chediak, who had no previous convictions, was not motivated by personal gain, although he added that trying to keep the businesses funded had resulted in him receiving his salary .

It spared him immediate jail, the suspended sentence including the obligation to perform 80 hours of unpaid work, as well as a compensation order of £ 2,700.

The court heard that Proceeds of Crime Act cases are expected to continue later this year.

A spokesperson for the Post said: “We do not comment on individual cases. We apologize for any inconvenience to customers caused by not reopening the branch, but there are other branches nearby offering service in Ringwood Road and Parkstone.

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Sylvia F. Hernandez

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