A SHOPKEEPER who awarded himself a £20,000 refund by reversing debit payments made to a newspaper supplier has been jailed.
Sri Lankan national Sivapiragasam Sellakkannan reclaimed the lump sum payment through his bank having claimed a financial dispute with Smiths News Trading Plc.
In February 2012, just days before the refund fraud, he changed his name to Krishnakumar Sivapragasam to dodge civil recovery action and managed to evade capture for more than two years.
But the 31-year-old, who ran several stores across the city, was stopped by West Midlands Police officers in his Mercedes van on March 8 this year on the A38M − and mobile fingerprint scanners revealed he was a wanted man.
He admitted defrauding Smiths News to the tune of £20,880.72 and another fraud in 2010 when he stole around £7,000 from money transfer company Western Union but skipped court on the eve of sentencing.
At Birmingham Crown Court last week Sellakkannan, of Cheveral Avenue, was jailed for a total of 23 months.
Detective Constable Chris Aldridge, from West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “In interview he tried claiming he was in dispute with the supplier and was due a refund of around £2,800 − but his bank said they would have to refund the total sum of his direct debit payments.
“In reality, though, this was a calculated fraud and one for which he’s now paid for by losing his liberty.”
DC Aldridge added: “Sellakkannan has been declared bankrupt and the money hasn’t been recovered. However, the supplier has placed a charge against his house through the Land Registry which means they can reclaim the cash should the house be sold.”