This post was first published by My London on 2/12/2019.
Chirag Patel must pay back the money or face another 10 years behind bars
A Croydon man has been ordered to pay back more than £1.3 million after he was caught hiding expensive stolen cars which he would rent out from a basement.
Chirag Patel, 40, of Frith Road, in the town centre, ran an “off-the-books” rental business where he put fake number plates on expensive cars which had been stolen and passed onto him.
A total of 19 cars were linked to Patel, all of which were stolen and together valued at more than £700,000.
Patel appeared before Croydon Crown Court on Friday (November 29) and was told he must pay back £1,369,661.90.
The court heard Patel was arrested in February 2015 after police discovered five high-value vehicles in the basement car park at his home address
Following a lengthy investigation, where police linked him to 19 stolen cars, he was charged in April 2017 with:
– Conspiracy to handle stolen goods in relation to 19 stolen vehicles and nine additional stolen car keys, for which he received eight years’ imprisonment
– Possession of criminal property in relation to more than £530,000 of unexplained cash deposits which had been identified from three personal bank accounts in his name, for which he received three years’ imprisonment to run concurrently.
It was said in court that the five vehicles in the car park had false number plates and all were later confirmed to have been stolen.
During a search of Patel’s property, officers recovered 26 sets of car keys, as well as lists of vehicles and registrations, machines for accessing on-board computers in vehicles and programming keys and a number of mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
A total of 19 stolen vehicles with an estimated value of £728,000 were linked to Patel and subsequently seized, as well as nine sets of keys which had been stolen from Jaguar Land Rover’s plant in Solihull, West Midlands, and a laptop stolen during a burglary in Streatham.
It was later discovered that Patel had been using the vehicles in the running of an “off-the-books’” vehicle rental business where vehicles were rented out to his associates and contacts.
The vehicles had been stolen by unknown individuals during burglaries and keyless car thefts across London between October 2012 and January 2015 and were stored at or near addresses owned by Patel and his family, or with associates who looked after the vehicles for him or rented them from him.
The identities of the cars were concealed using legitimate insurance details of vehicles which had been written off.
On Friday, Patel was told he would be jailed for 10 years if he fails to pay back the money.
Acting Detective Sergeant Billy Clough, who led the investigation, said: “The Met is committed to ensuring that individuals commit criminality are identified, prosecuted and their criminal assets are seized.
“The significant financial investigation undertaken by Detective Constable Nick Portman should also be recognised, without which substantial criminal assets would not have been recovered.”