AN ACCRINGTON fraudster has been told she must serve an additional 438 days in prison for failing to pay back £117,576 confiscated by the courts as proceeds from crime.
Lady Suzanne Barbara Bailey, 38, formally of Partridge Drive, in Accrington who gave her current address to the court as Plougenast, France appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court last Thursday following an in-depth investigation by the North West Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART).
Bailey was the proprietor and operator of BuzyBuz Ltd, a bus company in the Accrington and Blackburn area.
In November 2003, following a complaint from the Transport Department of Blackburn with Darwen Council, police officers arrested her and her husband, David, who was an employee of the bus company, in connection with the use of forged insurance certificates.
Within days of this action Buzybuz ceased operating and Accrington CID began investigating allegations of obtaining money by deception involving fuel rebate claims made by her from the Department for Transport. Bailey, who bought her title over the internet was handed a two-year jail sentence in June 2006 after she pleaded guilty to fraud and obtaining money by deception between May 2002 and 2004.
She fraudulently obtained more than half a million pounds from the Government and for using forged insurance certificates in respect of uninsured buses.
She and her husband David, enjoyed all the trappings of wealth sharing a £500,000 Victorian mansion called The Turrets in Rishton.
Following her sentence, Mr Justice Douglas Brown, said Bailey had benefited from the fraud by £626,511 and he made a confiscation order for more than £195,000, under the Proceeds of Crime Act which is the value of the assets she still had available.
These include a house in Accrington and land she owns in Dartmouth, Devon.
She was ordered to pay the money within 12 months or face a further two years imprisonment and still owe the money on her release, with accrued interest.
Inspector John Entwistle from RART said: "This hearing has come about as a direct result of the co-operation between the North West RART, London CPS and police.
"It sends out a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue those who profit from criminality and when a confiscation hearing is made, it is enforced.
"Asset confiscation is about actually getting the money recovered from the criminals and the work continues after the court case to trace and recover this money that a court has ordered to be confiscated.
"Even when these assets are moved overseas, RART and the CPS continue to liaise with our overseas partners to ensure that the criminals do not keep their ill gotten gains.
"Enquiries are continuing to recover the outstanding money.’
Inspector Steve Ashurst from Lancashire Constabulary added: "The public are tired of seeing criminals leading lavish lifestyles without challenge and the Proceeds of Crime legislation is a powerful policing tool taken very seriously by Lancashire Police.
"Anyone looking to fund their lifestyle from crime should take note.’