A pair of ‘dishonest fraudsters’ who fleeced a pensioner out of almost £16,000 in a building scam have been jailed.
Jaye Cardy, 29, was said by prosecutors to have shook hands with the pensioner, 70s, then asked him to write cheques totalling £15,590 in exchange for the bungled, half-finished works on his home in Salford, near Chipping Norton.
Co-defendant Christopher Doherty, 29, had £8,800 paid into his bank accounts between July and August 2020 – including one payment of £6,500 on the day the cheque was signed.
The victim, who was said to have twice been driven to the bank by the gang to withdraw cash, said the fraud had left him feeling ‘vulnerable’ and no longer safe in his own home.
Sentencing the pair at Oxford Crown Court on Friday, Judge Michael Gledhill KC rehearsed the ‘legal jargon’-heavy wording of the offence they had admitted.
“What does that jargon mean? It means that in a period of about a month in the summer of 2020 you were both members of a small group of what might likely be called ‘rogue traders’,” he said.
“More accurately, ‘dishonest fraudsters’ pretending to be skilled builders who preyed on a vulnerable elderly pensioner who lived alone in an isolated home where he had been born and lived all his life.
“You ought to be ashamed of what you’ve done, taking away a substantial part of his pension amounting to something short of £16,000.
“You knew perfectly well what you were involved with.
“The prosecution cannot say that you were the instigators, but you were certainly part and parcel of this small group of fraudsters.”
Jailing them each for five months for the fraud, Judge Gledhill said: “A message must go out loudly and clearly from this court that people pretending to be builders, taking money off people – honest people – by the sort of deceptions that were employed in this case is not only unacceptable but will be met with sentences of imprisonment.”
Prosecutor Duncan Milne, for Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards department, said the victim had a knock at his door from a cold caller on July 15, 2020, from a man who said his chimney required repointing.
Although the pensioner declined he said he needed his timber windows, then in a state of disrepair, replacing. The man, who handed over a business card with the name All Type Roofing, said he would ‘get someone to do it’ and return the next day.
The man returned as promised – this time with Jaye Cardy and others – to look over the house. The homeowner was told that work to the damp course and windows was needed, but they would do extra works to the front door and cistern ‘for free’.
He was asked to pay £300 for materials and driven to the bank in a van to withdraw cash.
On July 17, he was asked to write two cheques for £6,500, one made out to Doherty and the other to Cardy.
On the same day, wood filler was applied to downstairs windows and the timber was repainted, while putty was applied to gaps in the windows.
The works continued on July 20, when one window was taken out and boarded up and wood brought in order to make new windows. On the same day the victim was told one window had ‘failed the test’ and would cost a further £2,300.
Progress stopped until July 31, when Cardy reappeared – saying a family bereavement was the reason for his disappearance.
The police were called in early August, after the pensioner went with a friend to the address listed on the All Type Roofing business card he was given three weeks earlier.
Cardy and two others later returned on August 12, although the homeowner said he did not want them there.
A chartered surveyor instructed by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards department found the cowboy builders had simply painted over wet rot and decayed timer, used the wrong type of replacement timber and glazing of the wrong size. Cardy and his men’s work was of ‘no value’, it was said.
Financial investigators had checked Cardy and Doherty’s bank accounts, the court heard. Little more than £550 was spent on materials or at DIY stores between February and September 2020.
Neither man had a trade account at the three stores – Selco and Wickes in Watford and HG Winfield Ltd – where purchases were made.
Cardy, of Oakridge Lane, Aldenham, and Doherty, of The Common, Hatfield, pleaded guilty on the first day of their trial to a single count of ‘contravening professional diligence’ regulations – in effect, fraud. Both had previous convictions.
Doherty was also sentenced for two sets of driving offences in different parts of the country.
On January 8, 2021, he was caught driving a van in Bradford while disqualified and uninsured. He later failed to attend court.
While on bail, on August 16 he was behind the wheel of another vehicle in Coventry when he took off from police officers.
The ensuing pursuit ended in a head-on crash with another car, the occupants of which ‘thought they were going to die’ as Doherty’s vehicle barrelled towards them. He was convicted of dangerous driving and associated offences.
Cardy was jailed for five months.
Doherty received a total of 28 months’ imprisonment and was banned from driving for 50 months. He must pass an extended retest.
This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire’s court and crime reporter.
To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk
Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward
#Dishonest #fraudsters #fleeced #OAP #building #scam #sentenced
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