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Monday 30 May 2016

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Playboy fraudster behind bars after 10 years on the run

Published 02/02/2016

Fraudster Raymond Nevitt is to appear at Manchester Crown Court
Fraudster Raymond Nevitt is to appear at Manchester Crown Court

A playboy fraudster who spent nearly 10 years on the run is back behind bars in the UK.

Raymond Nevitt, 52, flew back to the UK this afternnoon having been extradited from South Africa almost a decade after he first disappeared after being found guilty of a multi-million pound scam.

Nevitt, who rubbed shoulders with celebrities while defrauding firms of more than £3 million, will appear at Manchester Crown Court tomorrow morning.

He will be represented by celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman, known as "Mr Loophole."

Described by one police source as "a walking fraud machine", Nevitt was arrested by police in Cape Town in May last year where he had been hiding for five years, travelling on a passport in an assumed name, first to Spain, then Thailand.

On arrest police found 28 mobile phones and a large quantity of sim cards in his possession.

A spokesman for the Serious Fraud Office tonight confirmed Nevitt was back in the UK.

Slick, brash and forceful, he was featured on TV alongside Damon Hill and Vic Reeves, taking part in the Gumball Rally, an international road-race across Europe, patronised by the rich and famous.

Dripping in gold chains and medallions, Nevitt wrote-off his white Ferrari, registration number L1000NEY - after somersaulting through the air at 150mph and landing in a field in 2000 in Latvia.

He walked away unscathed, had the car brought back to UK and threw a champagne reception for his friends with the wreck parked outside the bar.

He also indulged his other passion for fast cars, buying company cars for himself including a Ferrari and three BMWs - one with the reg number M1NGE.

Nevitt, from a wealthy Jewish family of jewellers in Manchester, set up a firm called Ravelle in 1991, which sold second hand computer parts to the PC maintenance industry.

The firm was successful at first, but began to falter, in part because he began to spend more effort enjoying a lavish lifestyle, concentrating on "wining and dining".

Nevitt "had a problem understanding what was company money and what was his money," enjoying trips to Las Vegas, Monaco, Verbier and Singapore, on the company credit cards.

Police began investigating the "Ravelle Group" of companies, in 2001.

As his firms were going under they carried on trading - and Nevitt carried on his lavish lifestyle - despite knowingly having no prospect of being able to pay suppliers.

Nevitt forged paperwork so firms would lend him money on the strength of bogus orders - known as "Fresh Air'' invoicing.

He also used a complex web of company transactions between the firms to make creditors appear each firm was good for the money.

In fact they had no money to repay the loans or to pay suppliers.

Dozens of staff lost jobs and several smaller companies went under due to the frauds.

In the final analysis, IBM Global Financing lost £1,600,000 whilst Barclays Sales Finance lost £654,857. Other creditors lost approximately £1,000,000.

He was first convicted of conspiracy to defraud in October 2006 and as he had by then absconded was further convicted in his absence following an 11 week trial in March 2008 of five counts of fraudulent trading worth £3.25 million.

Jail terms of 18 months and 45 months were passed.

But after being found guilty at his first trial Judge Martin Steiger QC was persuaded by Nevitt's lawyers to bail him before he was due to be sentenced when he subsequently vanished.

Nevitt will face Judge Steiger tomorrow accused of absconding while on bail.

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