A property developer who conned a bank out of millions of pounds so he and his family could live an exotic lifestyle has been jailed.
Andrew Fuller, of formerly of Tunbridge Wells, purchased a property in the town in Pembury Road in late 2002/early 2003, with a view to convert the site into 19 luxury apartments.
The 46-year-old secured a loan worth a total of £5.7million from a bank in 2005 which he claimed would be used to develop the site, known locally as Kingswood Birches.
It was agreed with the bank that repayment would be made once sales of the proposed flats had been completed.
In late 2007, the first three apartments were completed and were sold for an average price of around £350,000 each, bringing the outstanding debt owed by Fuller’s company, Calverley Properties, to £5.3million.
The remaining 16 properties were completed in 2008 to a high specification, aimed at an exclusive type of buyer, but due to the economic downturn, Fuller found it increasingly difficult to sell the flats.
Senior staff at the bank became alerted to the difficulties Fuller was having paying back the loan and discussions were held between the bank and Fuller about securing repayments.
As part of these discussions, Fuller was told he should not let any of the properties out to tenants as the apartments would lose value on the open market.
But despite this instruction, Fuller did in fact rent out some of the flats although none of the income raised appeared to be used to pay back the loan. Instead, it funded extravagant shopping trips, luxury hotel stays in Knightsbridge, London, and holidays abroad to locations including Amsterdam and Switzerland.
By May 2009, the bank found it increasingly difficult to contact Fuller and had mail returned to it stating Fuller ‘gone away’.
Further checks on Fuller were carried out and by July found the majority of the remaining flats at Kingswood Birches had been sold and registered as such with the Land Registry without the bank’s knowledge.
Fuller had sold the properties – valued at around £4.65m - and not used the proceeds, around £3.137m, to pay back his loan.
Fuller, who had fled to the Far East, was arrested on 1 December 2012 by officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Organised Crime Unit at an address in Bath for fraud by false representation/money laundering.
In interview, he accepted full responsibility and admitted changing his name by Deed Poll and obtaining a passport in the name of Andrew Templar in a bid to avoid detection.
On Thursday, 14 February, Fuller was sentenced to six years and three months for fraud, forgery and possession with intent to use a false ID at Maidstone Crown Court.
His honour Judge Carey, at the time of sentencing, told Fuller: ‘This fraud is about as serious as any that comes before the court because of the value, in excess of £3.5million, and your actions in the way the money was dissipated.
‘The offence was pure greed on your part.’
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Adrian Brown from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘I’m very pleased with this sentencing.
‘My team worked hard to sift through the deception and deceit created by Fuller who decided that once he could not afford to pay back the bank he was going to live the high life of a successful businessman which he clearly was not.’
Posted on: 15 February 2013
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