Burnley car sales controller pocketed £41,000 from business

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A SALES controller at a Burnley car dealership who pocketed more than £40,000 from the sale of 19 vehicles has been spared jail and must pay back his victims just £1 – for now.

Father-of-three James Bergquist (30) who had been employed at Perry’s Burnley branch in Accrington Road, was said to have been threatened over a debt. He had earlier admitted 19 counts of theft, totalling £41,176, between January and May 2009.

Judge Jonathan Gibson had last September deferred sentence on the defendant, of Sandy Lane, Darwen, on condition he paid back at least £500 a month to Perry’s. But, Burnley Crown Court was told, he was now jobless, had no assets and was on benefits.

Bergquist had paid back £12,500 of the cash, but £28,996 was still outstanding.

Judge Gibson said he had deferred sentence as he had not wanted the defendant to “get away with” repaying the money.

He gave Bergquist 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work. The judge made a proceeds of crime order finding that the defendant had benefitted to the tune of £28,996 from his dishonesty.

He said Bergquist had no money available and ordered he pay Perrys a nominal £1. But, he added, if at a future date the defendant got work and had resources or assets, the prosecution could bring the case back to court and seek more cash.

Judge Gibson added: “It is my intention any money received under the Proceeds of Crime Act should be paid to Perrys.”

The court had earlier been told how Bergquist told police he had borrowed £2,000 from someone in December 2005, when he had been living in Liverpool. The defendant, who had a record for dishonesty, said he had been unable to pay it back, had been forced to do certain jobs and the person had continued to extort cash from him.