Jail for Doncaster thief who bought £17K car on finance and flogged it abroad
A man claimed to be a chef when he bought a "flash" £17,000 car on finance and sold it in his own country, Sheffield Crown Court has heard.
Horica Muntean, who actually worked in Tesco at the time, gave false details but defaulted after the first monthly payment of £400 for the Audi A6, in December 2019.
It was taken to Romania on false number plates where it was sold, but it "proved virtually impossible to track him down."
Muntean was arrested at the airport when he returned to the UK in July this year, said prosecutor Amy Earnshaw, on Thursday. He initially denied theft but later pleaded guilty, telling the probation service that his parents had fallen ill and he was in desperate circumstances.
Judge Roger Thomas QC noted that Muntean's "Facebook indicates heavy involvement in the buying and selling of cars."
"Why did he want the car?" he asked. "South Yorkshire prides itself on a very good public transport system."
"Like many other defendants, he has made a poor decision," said Rebecca Tanner, mitigating.
"He obtained this car and knew full well he wasn't going to make the payments and he made away with it," the judge said.
Ms Tanner said: "He has spent 88 days in custody, which is almost three months," she said. "This has caused hardship for the defendant's family, which he deeply regrets. He is conscious that he has let them down by committing this offence."
She said a judge at an earlier hearing "indicated a suspended sentence might be appropriate."
"It has to be accepted there is some planning with the providing of incorrect information, but it could not be considered sophisticated."
The court heard he has no previous convictions and legitimate employment was waiting for him.
“He would say he was in employment at the time,” said Ms Tanner. “He may have been unrealistic in relation to meeting the payments. His intention was to use it in ordinary daily life.”
Muntean, 31, of Abbott Street, Hexthorpe, Doncaster, pleaded guilty to theft, after initially denying the charge, on August 25.
Judge Roger Thomas QC handed Muntean 18 months in prison and said: "This was a fraudulent exercise from the very beginning with the finance company left entirely out of pocket.”