Confiscation Order Issued Against Fraudulent Pet Cremations Business
A Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order was granted against Emma Jayne Bent, aged 36 of Steep Turnpike in Matlock, on Thursday 21st July 2011 at Derby Crown Court.
The order relates to Bent forming the company Peak Pet Cremations in 2006 and gaining the contract from Ambivet Veterinary Group to collect and dispose of clinical waste and cadavers. Between the 1st December 2006 and 31st July 2009 Peak Pet Cremations invoiced Ambivet for a total of £88,202.23 for the disposal of clinical waste, cadavers and pet cremations.
On 1st January 2011, Bent pleaded guilty to a number of charges at Derby Crown Court:
1.Offences contrary to Animal By Products Regulations 2005 as prosecuted by Trading Standards (Derbyshire County Council),
2.Offences contrary to Environment Protection Act 1990 as prosecuted by Environment Agency
3.Offences contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 as prosecuted by Derbyshire Police.
She was sentenced on 2nd February 2011 to 8 months imprisonment.
Bent was ordered to pay back realisable assets of £3,100. She has until 6 months to pay the money back or face a default prison sentence of 2 months. The benefit figure was identified as £88,202.23, which the court agreed was obtained through her criminal activity.
The confiscation order was made under powers afforded by the Proceeds Of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). POCA is a powerful tool that strips criminals of their assets and disrupts their criminal activities.
DC Alastair Murray of EMRART said: “This is an excellent example of Trading Standards, The Environment Agency, Derbyshire Constabulary and the East Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team working jointly to ensure that criminals do not keep the cash and ill-gotten gains that have been made from their crimes’’.
Peter Rutherford, Environmental Crime Team Leader for the Environment Agency, said: “Bent's unlawful activity resulted in pet owners being left very distressed and saved her large sums in costs that legitimate businesses would have had to pay. She also polluted the environment and was likely to cause harm to human health. This case demonstrates that we will not hesitate to prosecute where circumstances warrant it."
The investigation was a joint one between a number of agencies, co-ordinated as part of the Government Agencies Intelligence Network. This is a collaborative agreement between government organisations that have an intelligence and investigative remit within the East Midlands to tackle serious and organised crime.