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Police seize crook's Spanish villa

Crooked businessman Stephen Court
Crooked businessman Stephen Court

A fraudster has been ordered to pay back more than £1 million in ill-gotten gains - or face an extra six months in prison.

Crooked businessman Stephen Court racked in criminal proceeds of £2,142,414 by committing a series of fraud and money laundering offences.

Now the 57-year-old will have to hand over his Spanish villa, a detached house in north Kent, cash held in his bank accounts, personal vehicles and vehicles connected to his business.

Court, the owner of Bean firm Transmove, was jailed for five years in July after admitting conspiring to defraud the HMRC of £3.8 million and money laundering.

His fellow defendants included his daughter Nicola Puttick, 29, formerly of Stanhope Road, Swanscombe.

She was also sentenced in July to 18 months behind bars after being employed by her father as an office worker.

Another accomplice David Kemp, 36, was jailed for three years, four months. He had pleaded guilty on January 22 to three counts of fraud.

Kemp, formerly of West Cliff Road, Ramsgate, had been arrested in Belfast on December 16 having breached bail.

And police are still hunting Ukranian Yuri Hlavatskyy, 26, from the Dartford area, in connection with the inquiry.

Court's confiscation order was granted following a two-day hearing at Maidstone Crown Court this month.

The available amount to confiscate was set by the court at £1,152,739.60.

Kemp, who was sentenced with Court, was also made the subject of a confiscation order on November 5.

It was found that he had benefited from criminal conduct by £26,571.

But the court ruled he had no identifiable assets and a nominal confiscation order was made in the sum of £1.

Detective Inspector Mark Fairhurst, of Kent Police's Serious and Economic Crime Unit, said: "Stephen Court and David Kemp both benefited after setting out to defraud many companies, including Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

"The judge has decided that the money was gained illegally and has made a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act of over a million pounds.

"We are determined to ensure that anyone living beyond their means as a result of criminal activity hears our message that crime does not pay."

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