FRAUDSTER Christopher Baines has been extradited from the USA to serve a jail term in the UK.
Baines, 48, originally from Colchester in Essex, set up the Mister Woodz furniture shop in the Brunel Plaza where he sold made-to-order items to members of the public.
Wiltshire Police were contacted by numerous customers in 2011 who had paid money for items which never arrived. The shop was closed shortly afterwards .
Baines was arrested and charged with 54 counts of fraud by false representation.
He was released on bail to attend a court hearing, but failed to turn up for it or for subsequent hearings.
Baines then fled the UK for Canada where he committed more offences before travelling to Georgia in the USA, where further fraudulent offences were recorded against him.
During this time, the court case in the UK was heard in his absence and Baines was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to five years in prison.
While in Georgia, Baines continued to commit fraud and was finally arrested in San Antonio, Texas. He has been held in jail in the state of Georgia since September 2013.
Last Thursday Baines was extradited to the UK where he was taken into custody by Wiltshire Police officers upon arrival at Heathrow Airport. He has now begun his five-year jail term.
Clive Read, of the Financial Investigation Team at Wiltshire Police, said: “This fantastic result is the outcome of a very detailed and lengthy process involving partners both in the UK and the USA.
“Christopher Baines defrauded a large number of people in Swindon and I hope they now feel that justice has been served.
“This extradition process has involved partners from Wiltshire Police, the Crown Prosecution Service in London, officials at Washington, the Assistant District Attorney in Georgia right down to the County Sheriff.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone and every agency involved in this process and all of the victims in Swindon for their assistance.
“I hope this case illustrates that no matter how fast or far you run, you cannot avoid justice forever.”
To report an incident of fraud, call Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.