A Croydon man whose garage was found crammed with stolen luxury cars has been ordered by a court to pay back £1.3m of his illegal income.
Chirag Patel, 40, of Frith Road in Croydon, was sentenced to eight years in prison in October 2018 after being found guilty of conspiracy to handle stolen goods, and possession of criminal property.
Over a year after his sentencing, the investigation into the handling of the stolen cars has concluded with an order by Croydon Crown Court to confiscate over a million pounds, which Patel did not contest
In February 2015 police discovered five high value stolen cars in a car park underneath Patel’s house shortly after he had called them to his address to report his own Porsche being stolen. The officers discovered that all five cars had fake number plates and had been reported as stolen.
It was found that the cars had all been stolen in London across a period of three years. However, Patel was not charged until April 2017, following a lengthy investigation linking him to a further 14 stolen cars.
The total value of the stolen vehicles came to £728,000; the court ruled this must be repaid. Patel has also been ordered to pay back £530,000 of unexplained deposits, which it is believed may have been linked to money laundering.
Patel had been using the vehicles, which included Range Rovers, Mercedes and a Porsche, for his ‘off-the-books’ rental business used by associates and friends.
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 should also be recognised, without which substantial criminal assets would not have been recovered.”
If Patel fails to pay back the money, he will be sentenced to a further 10 years in prison.