A car dealer linked to mortgage fraud and tax evasion has lost his appeal against the seizure of assets worth up to £500,000.
Judges upheld a recovery order made against William Lovell (46) after describing him as a man with a propensity for acquisitive crime.
A “financial black hole” had been identified between his estimated income and the money needed to buy four properties confiscated from him.
Lovell of Main Street, Newcastle, Co Down, had produced an alleged P45 form for employment with a motor trader despite evidence showing he never worked for the firm, the Court of Appeal heard.
With a criminal history spanning more than 20 years and including convictions for theft, burglary and handling stolen goods, the three-judge panel also pointed out that he had never paid |income tax or national insurance.
Dismissing Lovell’s appeal, Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr said: “In our judgment there was ample evidence on which to conclude that the appellant had not been engaged in legitimate employment that produced any significant income. The deduction that his income came mainly from criminal activity was not only justified, it was inescapable.”
Lovell was challenging a recovery order granted in December 2007 for his apartment in Newcastle, two houses in Carryduff near Belfast and another in Dromore.
At the time the four properties had a combined value of more than £400,000.
The order, which followed an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act by the Assets Recovery Agency (now the Serious Organised Crime Agency), also covered four cars and two bank accounts.