Bankrupt jailed for money laundering

PUBLISHED: 12:12 27 November 2015 | UPDATED: 12:12 27 November 2015

Neil Messent.

Neil Messent.

Archant

Oil industry worker Neil Messent also admitted production of cannabis and possession of class C drugs and was jailed for a total of two years.

An undischarged bankrupt has been jailed for obtaining £385,000 in crooked mortgage applications.

Oil industry worker Neil Messent was not entitled to apply for any credit but remortgaged his home twice in the name of his wife Tracey.

He was also found with steroids and running a cannabis growing operation when police investigated the fiddle, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Messent, originally from Honiton, hoped the mortgages would dig him out of a financial hole which led him to being made bankrupt in 1999 but instead he ended up deeper in debt.

He left a trail of creditors when he went to work in Dubai without making any attempt to get out of bankruptcy and a Judge branded his behaviour as thoroughly dishonest and irresponsible.

Messent, aged 51, of Lummaton Place, Torquay, but who has previously lived in Honiton and had a business address in The Avenue, Newton Abbot, admitted two charges of money laundering.

He also admitted production of cannabis and possession of class C drugs and was jailed for a total of two years by Judge Ian Lawrie.

Messent’s ex wife Tracey, aged 48, of Stoneleigh Drive, Torquay, denied fraud and the case was left to lie on file. The Judge told her she was very lucky it was not being pursued.

Judge Lawrie told Messent:”You are thoroughly devious and dishonest. You were made bankrupt in 1999 and ran your life outside the boundaries of honest endeavour, along with your wife, who has had the good fortune to leave court without being convicted.

“In my view you were equally culpable and one of these offences showed thoroughly dishonest behaviour. The reality is that you were between a rock and a hard place, although that was a predicament of your own making.

“I accept the money was not spent on you living high on the hog. Essentially you were robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Mr Gareth Evans, prosecuting, said Messent’s wife made the applications for the remortgages on their home at Stoneleigh Drive, but he handled the money.

He was found with six diazepam tablets and small quantities of two different steroids and a 55 plant cannabis growing operation was found at a property elsewhere in Torbay.

Mr Nicolas Gerasimidis, defending, said Messent had a well paid job in Dubai which meant he was able to service the mortgages.

He said:”There was no malevolent intention. He also ran into bad company and a hair brained scheme was presented as an easy way out.”


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