Cowboy builder targeted admits to targeting pensioners in Â£10,000 fraud
A cowboy builder who conned thousands of pounds from the elderly for work that did not get done has been jailed.
Kevin Richardson was the “mouthpiece” for a crew of workers who used a variety of alias names and company identities to target the vulnerable.
Newcastle Crown Court the 35-year-old conman, who had a heroin addiction, made victims feel forced into agreeing to get roofing and repair work done that was not required.
If victims did not have enough money in their home to pay what was demanded, they were driven to cashpoints then left to get the bus back alone.
The craftmanship that was performed was either to a “shoddy” standard or not carried out at all.
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A total of six victims, the eldest being 87, were targeted at their homes in Sunderland, Durham and Cleveland.
Some, who were in the grip of dementia, were conned out of thousands of pounds from their savings.
Prosecutor John Cleasby told the court: “This is a police investigation into rogue or bogus traders targeting elderly and vulnerable members of the community to prey on in order to pretend to do work that, in most cases, was not needed.
“Any work that was carried out was carried out in a shoddy manner with exorbitant fees charged.
“Some victims were targeted repeatedly.
“It would have been obvious to any callers at the houses that the people were vulnerable in the extreme.”
Richardson, of Friendship Lane, Hartelpool, admitted eight fraud charges relating to around £10,000.
His cousin James Richardson, 33, of Winston Court, Hartlepool, admitted one fraud charge in relation to driving one victim to a bank and calling at the same house a second time to collect a cheque.
Mr Recorder Singh told the men: “This involved targeting elderly an vulnerable victims, conning them into roofing and maintenance work, attending in gangs and using different trade names and different names individually.
“The work was either not carried out or was carried out to a very poor standard.”
The judge said Kevin Richardson was the “figurehead” of the “carefully planned and sophisticated operation” and sentenced him to three years and four months behind bars.
Richardson admitted making over £8,000 profit from his illegal enterprise but has been ordered to pay back just £1 under the Proceeds of Crime Act as he currently has no assets.
James Richardson was sentenced to nine months behind bars, suspended for two years, with 250 hours unpaid work programme requirements and £980 compensation to the victim he was involved with.
The judge said his limited involvement was still “nasty”.
Defence barristers said the men were both remorseful for the harm they caused, did not deliberately set out to con people and had been trying to earn a legitimate living.