"Randhawa is a prolific and serial offender"
Ravinder Singh Randhawa, aged 30, of Middlesex, was jailed for nine years after he posed as a car salesman and led a £1 million scam.
The fraud saw more than 150 victims conned across the UK.
Randhawa led the scam, posing as a legitimate salesman to persuade his victims to pay large sums of money for second-hand cars.
He ran bogus websites for fictitious car showrooms and garages selling non-existent vehicles.
Some victims travelled miles to collect their cars only to realise that the place where they believed they had bought the vehicle did not exist.
Others lost out when their cars were never delivered.
When the victims tried to call, their phone numbers were blocked.
Cars included Porsches, Mercedes and Range Rovers, with Randhawa often selling the same vehicle more than once.
Randhawa laundered the money by purchasing Rolex watches and a gold bar. The scam ran for more than two years.
Devon and Cornwall Police led the investigation and eventually brought the fake car salesman to justice.
Randhawa admitted 22 charges of fraud and one of money laundering.
He persuaded victims to send him identity documents. He then stole and used them to set up new fake garages.
In mitigation, Randhawa began offending to provide for his family. He accepted he became greedy as his offending continued.
Randhawa was jailed for nine years.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Pebworth said:
“Today’s sentence is a result of hundreds of hours of dedicated and relentless investigation by Torbay CID, who have been committed to gaining justice for many victims stretching across the UK.
“I would particularly like to thank all the victims who have suffered at the hands of Mr Randhawa, and his associates, for their bravery.
“While this investigation was a Devon and Cornwall Police-led operation, many other forces came together to ensure justice for the victims and I extend my thanks to them and the Crown Prosecution Service in achieving this result.”
Sarah Melo, of the CPS, said:
“Randhawa is a prolific and serial offender, preying on trusting members of the public simply wishing to buy second-hand cars.
“His crimes were sophisticated. He often used identities obtained from previous victims and hijacked the identity of garages and genuine vehicles for sale so that his victims did not suspect his scam.
“Hundreds of people have suffered at the hands of Randhawa and lost money which they could ill-afford.
“His crimes have had a profound impact on so many of their lives.
“Many described the severe effect on their mental and physical health, their family relationships and overall financial stability.
“For many of his victims, this happened at a time when their lives were badly affected by the pandemic.”
“Randhawa showed no remorse for his actions.
“He would often laugh at his victims and goad them with abusive messages once they discovered they were victims of his fraud.
“He boasted to one victim who’d threatened to call the police that he’d been doing it for years and the police wouldn’t do anything about it. He was wrong.”
The CPS is now working to recover as much of the stolen money as possible.
Accomplices Jason Gilbert admitted conspiracy to transfer criminal property and was jailed for 27 months.
Atif Shariff admitted money laundering and was jailed for 20 months.