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North East auctioneers stung by scam gang.

A GANG who fleeced leading auction houses and car dealerships including some in the North East have been jailed for up to six years.

Simohamed Rahmoun, 31, Farouk Dougui, 40, and Jabey Bathurst, 25, were sentenced in London for their part in a PS750,000 scam using stolen credit cards and false identities to obtain luxury goods in 2010.

The gang used credit card details stolen from people in Canada and the US to use false names to register with auction houses as telephone bidders.

A nationwide investigation led by Wiltshire Police found 43 companies across the UK were conned in the fraud between April and November 2010, including one in the Northumbria Police area.

The court has heard that "not one'' '' piece of jewellery has been recovered from the scam.

Judge Phillip Matthews jailed Rahmoun - who contacted auction houses using bogus names - for six years, describing him as a "driving force" behind the conspiracy.

French-born Douguiwas jailed for five years and a further two months for breaching a restraint order freezing his assets. Bathurst was jailed for four years.

Dougui, of Charlton Park Road, south east London and Bathurst, of Brook Close, Ruislip, Middlesex, were found guilty of two charges of conspiracy to defraud by a jury following a trial earlier this year.

Rahmoun, of Stile Hall Mansions, Wellesley Road, Chiswick, west London, had pleaded guilty to the same charges during the six-week trial.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 4, 2013
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