Two brothers who illegally doctored the mileage of cars before selling them online to unsuspecting buyers have been sentenced and ordered to pay costs after a four-year investigation by Staffordshire Trading Standards.
Nathan Muronda (45) of Newcastle-Under-Lyme and Slybeat Muronda (41) of Cannock began importing high-performance sports cars from Japan in 2010. In a practice known as car clocking, they would alter the vehicles’ mileages shown in listings and on documents to increase their value before selling them on at inflated prices.
Many buyers were enthusiasts and collectors who bought the highly sought-after cars as investments. Models included the Nissan Skyline, Toyota Supra and Mitsubishi Evo.
At Stafford Crown Court on 28 June Nathan Muronda was sentenced to ten months imprisonment, and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs and a £140 victim surcharge. Slybeat Muronda was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay costs of £2,500 and a £140 victim surcharge. Nathan Muronda has already served 11 months on remand and is not required to spend further time in prison.
The pair were sentenced after previously pleading guilty to offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “Car clocking is an age-old crime and is something that our Trading Standards team continues to deal with. In this particular case, the cars involved were older sports/performance types that are appealing to enthusiasts, collectors and investors.
“This isn’t a victimless crime. We know that not only were people in Staffordshire affected but buyers from across the country and even in the USA and Canada were also caught up in the scam. We are pleased that this case has reached a satisfactory outcome and I would remind other traders thinking about the practice, that we will take prompt action where we see it happening.”
His Honour Judge Edwards thanked those involved in the case for the ‘monumental amount of work on the case’. He went on to say that the brothers had been involved in serious offending.
Judge Edwards described it as a highly sophisticated operation, with consumers unwittingly buying clocked vehicles, with the brothers seriously misrepresenting the cars being sold. He went on to say that clocking cars is a seriously deceitful occupation, which undermines consumer confidence in the car trade, with purchasers being deceived about the essential features of the car.