201601.07

Rogue Builders Are a Real Threat – Always Check Tradesmen’s Credentials!

Detatched house private driveIt is sadly common for rogue builders to prey on the vulnerable and elderly and it is always vital to check the credentials of tradesmen who knock on your door. In one case, a gang of fraudsters extracted £256,000 from 24 unsuspecting households before the law caught up with them.

The gang’s modus operandi was to tell homeowners that their drains needed urgent maintenance. Extortionate bills were put in for work which was often defective and payment was demanded using threats and other strong-arm tactics. Illegal profits generated were dispersed using sophisticated money laundering methods.

The police were eventually alerted and one of those involved was jailed for 11 years and six months for conspiring to commit fraud, money laundering and four unconnected burglaries. The facts of the case emerged as he challenged his sentence at the Court of Appeal, arguing that it was manifestly excessive.

In dismissing his appeal, however, the Court found that his role within the gang, although largely restricted to money laundering, was pivotal. Condemning his crimes as despicable, the Court noted that many of the victims had been psychologically scarred for life. He could have no complaint about a sentence which could have been even longer.

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