Convicted Warwickshire fraudster Andrew Stephen Harris has been ordered to pay £350,000 following a Proceeds of Crime hearing brought by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards.
In November 2013, Harris, the director of Hatton-based Shakespeare Classic Line Ltd, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison after being found guilty of defrauding his customers.
At his sentencing in 2013, Judge Alan Parker stated that Harris had run a “fraud factory” from his office, and also said it was where his victims were “processed in industrial quantities.”
Harris intended to defraud people out of £7.5 million by fraudulently selling ‘fractional ownership’ of three yachts and ongoing maintenance agreements.
He and fellow director of Shakespeare Classic Line David Evans had denied a charge of fraudulent trading before being found guilty.
Warwickshire County Councillor John Horner, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “I am delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards has taken this action. Criminals should not be allowed to profit from their crimes and should be deprived of the money and property they have accumulated.”
At Warwick Crown Court on Monday February 8, it was agreed that Harris had benefited from his crime to the tune of £550,000 and a confiscation order was made in the sum of £350,000 with 3 months to pay.
It was also agreed that the criminal benefit of Shakespeare Classic Line Ltd was also £550,000. A confiscation order was made in the sum of £225,988.27 to be taken from the company’s assets.
Evans was also made to pay £25,000 at an earlier hearing in May 2015.
In order to successfully bring the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) action, Warwickshire Trading Standards employed the services of Philip Richards, a specialist financial investigator.
The purpose of a POCA is to deny criminals the use of their assets, recover the proceeds of crime and disrupt and deter criminality. However, in this case the court also awarded compensation to the victims who gave oral evidence in court at the trial in July 2013.