Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Man who sold washing powder as cocaine ended up in court for fraud

A conman sold washing powder as cocaine and ended up in court for fraud. Jamie Lee Taylor, 27, passed off the household cleaning product as Class A drugs for two months. His lucrative enterprise paid off in the short term as he made “a fair bit of money”, Teesside Crown Court heard. But he ended up behind bars and in the dock as he found he had broken the law despite never selling illegal narcotics.

He pleaded guilty to two charges after his scam was uncovered. He admitted offering to supply cocaine to others between July and September and “possession of an article for use in fraud”, three bags of white powder, on September 5. The dealer, of Gresham, Middlesbrough, was on licence from a previous jail sentence at the time. Alex Bousfield, defending, said: “It’s an unusual case. He has not been supplying drugs to anyone.

“Surely the real peril in the offence of drugs is it contributes in continuing that misuse of drugs and everything else that follows from it. He knows throughout, he’s the only one who knows, these are not drugs. He knows it’s not a drug, so it’s a difficult one.” Prosecutor Rachel Masters said: “Essentially the defendant is purporting to sell drugs in the way that a drug dealer would sell drugs. He’s making a fair bit of money out of it as a result.”

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said he needed some time to think about the case. He said he was not sure about sentencing from guidelines for offences involving real drugs. He adjourned the case, telling Taylor: “You knew throughout you were selling a product which was not drugs. I know that. It’s just not easy to work out what the principles of sentencing are in your case. I’m going to sentence you next Monday. In the meantime you’re remanded in custody.”

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