BUSINESSES which were conned out of more than £125,000 by an internet fraudster are to get their money back.
Sal Adams, 30, formerly of Preston New Road, Marton, was arrested in 2007 following an investigation into his online activities.
Adams had been offering electrical goods, including iPods, mobile phones and televisions for sale on Amazon.co.uk at vastly reduced prices, but once buyers had paid for the items they failed to arrive.
Adams would manipulate the payment systems to withdraw money early and Amazon.co.uk then had to pay compensation to the duped customers.
In June 2011, Adams appeared at court charged with 32 counts of fraud and two of money laundering. However, he absconded and was given a four years and six month sentence in his absence.
At a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing at Preston Magistrates Court earlier this year, £80,000 in cash which had been seized from Adams following his arrest was made subject to a forfeiture order.
At a second POCA hearing money from a bank account in a family member’s name was confiscated by the courts. In total £125,739 has now been taken from Adams, with a substantial portion of this being returned to Amazon.co.uk and more than £33,000 to other small businesses targeted by Adams.
Det Insp Andy Ellis, of Lancashire Police, said: “The companies involved had to cover the compensation for their customers, often at great cost. Some of the smaller companies were faced with financial difficulties because of Adams actions, and people’s jobs were put at risk.”