A real-life Del Boy was exposed after £5,000 hidden in his wife’s underwear fell out as she was questioned by police.
Conman Trevor Wales, 54, who even had a replica three-wheel reliant with the name Trotter scrawled across the back, was jailed after police exposed his family fake goods scam.
Wales was caught selling knock-off cigarettes and foreign tobacco, while son Richard Wales, 28, acted as his ‘Rodney’ in the family affair.
Next year we’ll be millionaires: Wife Mary Wales and husband Trevor were running a fake good scam
Wife Mary Wales, 53, acted as the banker in the family scam, Leeds Crown Court was told.
The Daily Express reported the family were only caught out after officers investigating the scam turned up at their home in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
After they arrested Mrs Wales stunned officers became aware of bank notes floating out from underneath her skirt.
Eventually Mrs Wales admitted she had stuffed a wad of cash in her underwear because she didn’t want the police to seize it, the paper reported.
The family’s shifty scheme allowed them to buy and renovate property as well as purchase jet skis, luxury cars, caravans and motorbikes.
A court heard that the family had been dealing in the fake cigarettes and foreign tobacco between 2003 and 2009, cheating HMRC out of £200,000.
And in true Trotter style the Wales’ used this money to live far beyond their means, including losing cash gambling in a city centre casino.
The court heard that over that six-year period it is estimated that Mary Wales gambled away nearly £47,000 in the casino.
All three were living ‘like millionaires’, the court heard, buying a jet ski, a Mitsubishi sports vehicle, a caravan and a motorbike.
Richard Wales, who was described by his defence as ‘naive’, pleaded guilty to falsely obtaining a mortgage and converting money made selling the tobacco to a £27,000 deposit for a house.
While listing the fruits of the family’s dodgy deals prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford said that when Richard bought the house it had been in the need of some repair but by the time the police arrived ‘it had clearly had a large amount of money put into it’.
He said: ‘The Wales family between them spent far more money than could be explained by their income. (The scam) enabled all three defendants in the dock to live well beyond their legitimate means.’
He told the court the husband and wife had a legitimate income of only £7,400 a year while Richard did not declare any income and occasionally claimed benefits.
The barrister said £144,000 was paid into two of Mary’s accounts.
Jet skis cost the family £20,000, a Mitsubishi Shogun was also bought for the couple’s daughter.
Evidence of an extensive expenditure were found when police searched their home led to police following them to a shipping container in Selby, North Yorkshire, which when searched contained large amounts of tobacco not available in this country.
Fake and genuine packets of Regal cigarettes were also found in the family home along with £16,000 in cash.
Passing sentence on Trevor, Judge Rodney Grant said: ‘This is a good deal of money and that money over a period of time was used by you and members of you family to live well above your lifestyle.
‘The offences continued over a long period of time and that was an aggravating feature.’
Jailed: Father and son were sent to prison at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday
Sentencing Trevor to two years and three months after he admitted evading VAT on cigarettes and tobacco, he said that offences such as these are very serious.
‘I take the view that your involvement in these matters was a result of a your father’s involvement,’ added Judge Grant as he sentenced Richard to 15 months following his guilty plea to the same offence as well as converting criminal property.
‘Banker’ Mary was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years after pleading guilty to two offences of converting criminal property.
She was also handed an 18-month supervision order and a four-month curfew.
Michael Smith, defending Trevor, told the court: ‘As with most women in working class households, she operated the family budgets to a degree.’
A confiscation hearing is likely to take place next year.
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