Three people involved in a former Rugeley-based hot tub distribution business have been jailed for fraud .
Simon Foster, aged 49, Stuart Cox, 40 and Johnathan Husselbee, 37, were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court today, June 27.
Foster was jailed for three-and-a-half years, while Cox was sentenced to two-and-a-half years and Husselbee was jailed for two years.
The trio were convicted of fraudulent trading and conspiracy to defraud earlier this year following a three-month trial.
Hundreds of customers from across the country, and a few from mainland Europe, were affected by the actions of the three men who ran Spaserve, which went bankrupt in October 2010 owing £2.7 million, the court was told.
The defendants were convicted for their involvement in the fraudulent running of Spaserve, for agreeing to lie and mislead customers at the point of sale as to the origin of the hot tub and how long they would take to arrive.
This led to repeated misrepresentation by office staff, who lied about anticipated delivery dates to stop customers from cancelling their orders.
The police investigation into the activities of Spaserve – which traded under different names including The Trade Price Group – began in the late summer of 2010 as a joint inquiry with Trading Standards following numerous complaints from disgruntled customers.
Their experiences included receiving a hot tub which did not work or never receiving items ordered. In many cases customers handed over money but never received anything.
It is thought that around 2,000 hot tubs were sold to customers from April 2007 to October 2010, and only in the region of 1,600 were delivered.
As the investigation progressed Staffordshire Police took the lead, but before any arrests were made the business was declared bankrupt in October 2010, owing £2.7 million. It was established that between them the partners took £1.2 million of company funds.