Elderly people and those who are vulnerable are sadly prime targets for rogue traders, but the law is not powerless when it comes to helping those affected. The successful prosecution of a rogue builder promises more than £200,000 in compensation for his victims.
The builder's modus operandi was to con householders, mostly pensioners who lived on their own, into paying extortionate sums for unnecessary work that was shoddily carried out. One victim paid more than £300,000 for work which was assessed as being worth only £1,500.
The builder was ultimately jailed for five years and four months after pleading guilty to three counts of fraud and one of theft. Proceedings followed under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and he received a confiscation order requiring him to pay £217,214. That sum represents the entirety of his available assets and the authorities intend to use it to compensate his victims for their losses, at least in part.
The facts of the case emerged as he challenged the order before the Court of Appeal. He argued that his matrimonial home and a bank account containing about £100,000 were his wife's alone, although both were held in joint names. The Court rejected his appeal as entirely lacking in merit.