Fraudster jailed for 16 months for theft

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A FRAUDSTER has been sent to prison after resorting to desperate measures to pay off thousands of pounds of debt.

Garry Billing, 42, of Bryant Way, Higham Ferrers, was given a 16-month jail term and ordered to pay compensation to his victims at Northampton Crown Court on Friday for defrauding friends and acquaintances to the value of more than £75,000.

Defending, Rebecca Dart, said Billing had plunged into trouble after being sold a business laden with debt.

She said he had been a successful car-parts salesman and in 2002 the owner of the company he worked for offered to sell it to him for £250,000.

Ms Dart said: “He was told there was £100,000 in the bank and £100,000 of stock, but when the owner left Mr Billing found only £5,000 in the bank and that the majority of the stock had not yet been paid for. The company was in massive amounts of debt.”

The court was told Billing had purchased the business without seeking financial advice as he was naïve and believed his friend would not have deceived him. After battling to keep the company afloat, it was declared insolvent in 2008 and Billing was declared bankrupt.

Ms Dart said the debt was sold on to “not very nice people” and Billing and his family became the subject of threats, the court heard.

Billing convinced several people to lend him money, claiming he would invest it in car parts and make a profit.

He handed himself into police in April 2010, despite his victims being at that point unaware they had been defrauded.

In total he had taken £75,952.92 and the prosecutor said he had no intention of paying it back.

Sentencing, Recorder Geoffrey Kelly said: “I accept everything that’s been said on your behalf but rather than taking the step of seeking the assistance of the police, you defrauded people you knew.”