Fraudulent horse dealers ordered to repay just £106

  • The two Kent horse dealers found to have benefited by more than £190,000 from defrauding unsuspecting buyers have been ordered to pay back just £106 between them.

    Aniela Jurecka, of Prospect Place, Collier Street in Tonbridge, and Charlotte Johnson, of Tollgate Way, Sandling, benefited from their criminal conduct by £105,553 and £89,795 respectively, Maidstone Crown Court found at a hearing on 18 January.

    But Jurecka was told to pay back £104.96 and Johnson £1.

    By contrast, former vet David Smith, of The Street, Finglesham, was found to have benefited from his criminal conduct by £59,050 and was ordered to pay back that amount within three months.

    All three were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, at the same court, in June 2016, and were each sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

    The court had heard the three had colluded to sell ill and/or dangerous horses to unsuspecting buyers. The jury had been told that Jurecka and Johnson, both then 28 while Smith was 66, advertised horses for sale in equestrian publications.

    Text messages seen by detectives suggested the pair were drugging horses to cover up poor behaviour and lameness.

    Jurecka and Johnson would then recommend vet Smith, who would give the horses a clean bill of health. In many cases, the paperwork for the horses was altered. Horses were sold for between £1,950 and £5,700.

    Continues below…

    ‘Wicked, dangerous and criminal’: two horse dealers and vet sent to prison

    Dealers Aniela Jurecka, Charlotte Johnson and vet David Smith have all received custodial sentences

    Detective Inspector Annie Clayton of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “The total amount confiscated will allow the victims of these frauds to be compensated.

    “This should send a message to offenders that once they have been sentenced, we will continue to investigate any financial gain they have made and will use the available legislation to seize any cash or property obtained through criminal behaviour.”

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