Wednesday 17 July 2024
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Nottinghamshire: Six found guilty of £280,000 home improvement scams targeting elderly residents

A group of six fraudsters have been prosecuted for conning elderly residents out of £286,765 for over-priced and often unnecessary home improvement work.

The convictions were handed down at Nottingham Crown Court on 28 June 2023, following an investigation led by the National Trading Standards Regional Investigations Team in the East Midlands, hosted by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Six guilty of £280,000 scams targeting elderly Nottinghamshire residents

Jason Rowan (aged 51), Stephen Tomlinson (aged 55), David Beeson (aged 53), Christopher Simpson (aged 58), Bohdan Zacharko (aged 69) and Philip Eremenko (aged 54) were found guilty of various fraud and money laundering offences under the Criminal Law Act 1977, the Companies Act 2006 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Sentencing will take place on Wednesday 6 September 2023 at Nottingham Crown Court.

Nottingham Crown Court

The court heard that between 2014 and 2018, the six defendants were involved with multiple companies that marketed and sold home improvement services, specifically exterior wall and roof coating products, which they claimed would improve energy efficiency and reduce household bills.

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The companies included Energysave Central Ltd (and its associated companies Energy Save Glass Ltd, Energysave Conservatories Ltd and Energy Save Group Ltd), Envirotherm Group (UK) Ltd and EVT Group Ltd.

Trading Standards investigation

Investigations by National Trading Standards East Midlands and supported by Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire County Council Trading Standards identified 62 victims, many of whom were elderly people living in vulnerable situations, with many aged in their 80s and 90s.

Vulnerable people repeatedly targeted

In some cases, very vulnerable individuals were repeatedly and cynically targeted by the conmen for more and more work.

During the hearing which lasted almost six months, it was revealed that the perpetrators often made initial contact with their victims from one of their companies’ call centres.

Following the initial cold call, victims were visited by a sales rep in their home, during which time they were subjected to scare tactics and pressure selling for wall and roof coatings that the fraudsters falsely claimed were ‘guaranteed’ to cure damp and significantly reduce their heating bills.

Many felt pressurised into making a decision on the spot, for a “today only” so called bargain, whereas in reality the price had been grossly inflated.

Refunds refused

The defendants also refused to refund customers’ money when they cancelled within their cancellation period.

In a number of cases, customers sued the company concerned in the county court and obtained judgements for the repayment of the money.

However, more often than not these judgements were ignored.

Councillor: “Our Trading Standards Service will continue to protect the most vulnerable.”

Councillor John Cottee, Cabinet Member for Communities at Nottinghamshire County Council, said:

“Unfortunately, scammers often target those who are most vulnerable in our communities without a second thought, and this can have a devastating impact on victims and their families.

“I would like to thank all the victims who came forward and worked with our investigators to help bring this case to trial.

“The verdict in this case shows that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.

“Our Trading Standards Service will continue to protect the most vulnerable in our community and pursue any perpetrators of this type of conduct to ensure that they face justice.”

“Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards Service always advises residents to be alert to cold calling, never to trade or buy at the door and to always report any concerns.

“If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t and you should never be afraid to close the door on scammers and those who turn up out of the blue offering to fix problems you didn’t know or think that you had.”

Further support

Anyone who suspects that rogue traders are operating in their area is advised to contact Trading Standards on 0808 223 1133.

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