Cruel gang fleeced 86-year-old for roofing work then conned him again by posing as trading standards

A cruel gang of conmen has escaped an elderly man twice – first by collecting extortionate fees for roofing work, then as trade standards investigating the fraud.

The 86-year-old needed some work in his house after it was in a dangerous condition in high winds.

Rogue builders persuaded him to pay substantial amounts well beyond the value of the work.

To add to the retiree’s plight, a member of the gang called him and posed as someone named Inspector Green from commercial standards.

He twisted a yarn over investigating cowboy builders and got the victim to hand over another £ 20,000.

Now 22-year-old Connor Hudson of Barnes Road in Murton, County Durham, who allowed the money to be laundered through his bank account, has been given a suspended sentence.

Prosecutor Jo Kidd told Newcastle Crown Court that the 86-year-old’s roof had already been damaged in September 2017.

Miss Kidd said: “He was approached by rogue farmers who persuaded him to pay substantial sums of money for roofing work.

“It became clear that they were rogue dealers and that the amount of money they stole from him was far beyond the value of the work done.

“The complainant says it was planned in a clever and professional manner.”

A few days after the work was completed, a man visited the victim and said he was of trade standards and that he was looking for rogue farmers in the area and someone would contact him by phone.

Miss Kidd told the court: “With this preliminary work, the applicant received a phone call in no time from someone who said he was Inspector Green and said there was an extensive criminal investigation that he would require.” his help.

“Over the next few days, Inspector Green persuaded him to make a series of transfers to this perpetrator’s bank account.”

Payments of just over £ 7,000 and then £ 13,000 have been deposited into Hudson’s account.

Hudson then visited his local office to vacate the account, leaving behind £ 395 which prosecutors said represented his payment for his help in the criminal enterprise.

In a victim impact statement, the retiree said he felt “deceived and angry that he was being charged an extortionate amount for roof repairs” and was delighted when he received a call from what he believed to be commercial standards.

He said the so-called Inspector Green had told him he was acting on behalf of the “Tribunal” which he was doubtful about as he had never heard of it.

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The victim said, “Inspector Green assured me it was real, but of course not.

“It was part of a well-organized, well-oiled scam.”

He added, “I was afraid the roof would fall on the path my young grandson is playing on if they visit him.”

Hudson, who has already had five convictions, alleged he acted under duress from the gang but was sentenced after a trial to possess £ 395 of criminal property and transfer £ 20,404 of criminal property.

He was sentenced to nine months in prison, with a two-year term.

Mr. Recorder Fanning said to him: “For a short time your job was to put money into your account.

“If someone looked up where the fraudulently received money went, you’d do the rap and that’s where you are.”

The judge said the victim was already angry and on a low level after being betrayed about the roofing work.

He added, “To rub salt into the wounds, he was convinced that he could safely pay the money.

“As he put it, it was well organized and well oiled.”

Martin Scarborough, who defended himself, said: “He was 19 years old when he became involved in this matter and said he had been coerced for threats against him and his family for not cooperating with the scammers who committed the crime. ” against the complainant.

“He’s got ADHD, anxiety, and depression.”

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