A rogue builder from Bridgend has been prosecuted after leaving several people out of pocket across Wales.
Morgan Lewis, 23, defrauded a total of 20 people across south Wales including single mothers, NHS workers and a widow, causing a loss of approximately £50,000.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Lewis demanded customers pay an upfront deposit to ‘secure a slot’ for the work to be done before not returning at all.
The prosecution told how in the earlier complaints Mr Lewis would attend site and complete a nominal amount of work, often leaving to get more materials or due to a ‘family emergency’ and then never return. In the latter complaints he would obtain the deposit and then not return at all.
He would then provide multiple excuses as to why he wasn’t able to attend from the weather to family issues and his own health problems.
When victims had had enough of his excuses and contacted him for a refund to enable them to engage another trader to get the work completed, he would often get aggressive and abusive.
In a case investigated by the Shared Regulatory Service and prosecuted by Bridgend County Borough Council, Lewis pleaded guilty to 11 charges under the Fraud Act and 10 further charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Lewis was jailed for 16 months and an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act continues.
Judge Niclas Parry described Lewis as calculated, manipulative and sometimes aggressive.
The court was told that Lewis defrauded unconnected people including single mothers, NHS workers and a widow causing a loss of approximately £50,000. These people have not just lost money to him but then had to pay more money to get the work rectified or completed.
He has not repaid any of the victims and as a result of his actions, people have been left in debt, lost money that was part of an inheritance and has taken from their pension funds.
The conclusion of this case sends out the clear message that trading practices such as these, which have resulted in our residents being ripped off, will not be tolerated.
Anyone with concerns about rogue traders or seeking advice on finding reputable tradespeople, should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.
Bridgend County Borough Councillor Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, and member of the SRS Joint Committee