Cowboy builder targeted Cheshire's elderly and swindled them out of £250,000

Posted: Monday, May 16th, 2022

A cowboy builder who swindled elderly victims out of more than £250,000 has been jailed for six years. William King, 44, would cold call his victims, aged between 69 and 88, and convince them that work was required on their homes.

King, of Moss Drive, Middlewich, took a quarter of a million pounds for work that was never needed or poorly completed. King appeared at Chester Crown Court on Monday, May 9 where he was sentenced to six years imprisonment, he will also be subject to a Serious Crime Prevention Order, Cheshire Live reported.

In a four month period between May and September, 2021, King defrauded five victims who all lived in static caravans. Once his victims agreed to have the work done, it was completed to a 'very poor' standard and the pricing was 'extortionate'.

A chartered surveyor assessed King's work, and estimated that £62,074 had been lost by the five victims. King attempted to cover his tracks by providing false names and saying he ‘traded’ under a limited company.

King would send two to three ‘workers’ to complete the remedial work to the victims’ homes. These workers would then find further work that needed to be done, before King would arrive again agree an additional fee for the extra false work.

King spent the proceeds on lavish goods such as a new blue BMW M Sport which was valued at £40,000. Following his arrest for fraud by misrepresentation, one of King's victims positively identified King through a line-up.

Detective Constable Carl Davis said: “King had no regard for his victims, one of whom was a carer for his wife who has Alzheimer’s, his only concern was his own greed.

“I would like to praise the victims for coming forward and helping us to bring King to justice and shine a light on the real impact that this crime can have on people’s lives.

“We were able to put forward a catalogue of evidence against King complete with CCTV images taken from a system installed by one of the victims which left him with no option but to plead guilty.

“When sentencing King, Judge Steven Everett said that King was a despicable person and a menace to the public and that is exactly what he is.

“I want to pass on my thanks to the courts for delivering this sentence and ensuring that justice is served.”

Detective Sergeant Chris Jacques said: “King is a serial fraudster who knew what he was doing by targeting the most vulnerable in our communities.

“If someone comes to your door, please do your research. Only use registered and approved tradesmen and ensure you check before allowing any work to start.

“I hope that by highlighting the crimes committed by King, we are preventing others from falling for these fraudsters and raise awareness on how to spot the signs.”

A further 35 offences that King committed were also taken into consideration by the court. These offences took place between September 2017 and May 2021 and committed nationwide including Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Telford, with a total estimated loss to victims of £178,850.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: “This type of activity will not be tolerated in Cheshire West and Chester.

“Our Regulatory Services officers work hard to protect residents in the borough from unscrupulous individuals willing to scam innocent people into handing over large sums of money.

“The defendant’s actions have caused considerable distress and anxiety to many vulnerable, elderly people around the borough and beyond – including Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Cheshire East and Telford.

“Some victims are still struggling to come to terms with being taken advantage of.

“I hope the outcome of this case sends a clear message to anyone considering criminal business activities.”

Many of the victims impact statements were read out in court, one said: “I mistrust people generally now due to what has happened. I also feel embarrassed that I was taken for a ride when I trusted them completely.

“I feel angry that it happened to me and these men have knowingly and willingly took advantage of me.

“Not only do I not trust people who come to my door, I do not trust anyone I come across now as a result of this incident.”

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