On 21 December 2021 at Cardiff Crown Court defendants Alan Lee, aged 48 of Shirenewton, Cardiff and Gareth James Robinson aged 41 of Roath, Cardiff were sentenced having previously pleaded guilty to 2 charges each of operating and participating in a fraudulent business. Lee, initially trading as AL Construction and later as Capital Construction was sentenced to 6 years and 10 months imprisonment and Robinson, Lee’s “trusted lieutenant” was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months imprisonment. The Court were told that the pair had defrauded 24 victims. In relation to Lee the offending took place following a previous Fraud conviction in 2018, where he received a suspended prison sentence. Furthermore much of this fraud had taken place whilst he was awaiting sentence on further charges.
The prosecution was led by Vale of Glamorgan Council, who host the combined Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan & Bridgend Trading Standards, Shared Regulatory Services Service (SRS) and was the outcome of a joint investigation by SRS and Caerphilly Trading Standards teams.
The proceedings heard that; ‘Lee is a persistent, dishonest, aggressive and intimidating person who describes himself as a builder. He works in a very systematic, pre-planned, deliberate and fraudulent way. He targets elderly and/or vulnerable persons. Over the period he repeatedly claimed that work was needed to consumer’s homes, usually roofing work, when it was not. He would claim thousands for work that was not needed and would almost always find, dishonestly so, further work that he would claim was essential.’
The estimated value of this fraud, involving 24 consumers across South East Wales, some of which were elderly and/or vulnerable, is in the region of £556,000 with some consumers being caused loss of more than £80,000. The impact on the consumers cannot be easily stated.
Cllr. Nigel George, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Protection said, “This is a fantastic result for our residents that justice has been served. Whilst this prosecution cannot take away the suffering of the victims I hope that it can reassure them that this will not happen to others and that they can be compensated for their financial losses. This result is testament to the robust investigation carried out by our Trading Standards Team and we are very proud to secure another successful prosecution.”
If you have something that you would like to report to the Trading Standards Team visit https://www.caerphilly.gov.uk/Business/Trading-standards or call 01443 811300