Published: 15:00, 21 July 2014
A former business consultant who was jailed for three years for a massive mortgage fraud has been ordered to hand over just under £1 million.
Jean-Pierre Bestel built up a portfolio of 95 properties and applied for 31 mortgages during 2007, using forged documents and falsely claiming he was earning a six-figure salary.
He was originally found to have benefited by £9,427,123 and given six months to pay or face a further 10 years in prison. It was the largest ever confiscation by Kent Police.
The 51-year-old, formerly of City Way, Rochester, now of Killick Mill, Wrotham Road, Meopham, failed in an attempt to challenge the order - but he appealed the decision and the matter was sent back to Maidstone Crown Court to be reheard.
Recorder Cairns Nelson QC found that Bestel - who represented himself at the hearing - benefited by £3,061,699 and that his realisable assets were £969,689.
He was given six months to hand over that amount or face four years' imprisonment in default.
Judge Charles Macdonald QC said in August 2012 that Bestel's asset position remained unclear, adding: "He appears today by privately funded lawyers. He is well dressed. He has several classic cars."
Bestel told the judge he suffered from bipolar disorder, which caused "extraordinary behaviour", and that he was seeing a psychiatrist and his GP every month.
"I am still on medication every day," he said. "One of the side effects is it destroys your memory. It is something I have to deal with every day."
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