A Staffordshire builder who took cash in advance for unfinished construction work was given a 24 month prison sentence, at Birmingham Crown Court today (27 June 2017).
Scott Devlin (44), of Robinson Close, Tamworth, trading as Magical Kitchens and Builders, pleaded guilty to five offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and one offence under the Theft Act 1968 at an earlier hearing (25 April 2017).
Craig Dunn (33), of Turchill Drive, Sutton Coldfield also pleaded guilty to two offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 today (27 June). He received a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, was ordered to pay £4,000 costs and carry out 250 hours of unpaid work within 12 months.
Birmingham City Council brought the case after Trading Standards Officers received a number of complaints via Action Fraud from customers who were left out of pocket – many of whom had to pay a new contractor to complete Devlin’s unfinished jobs.
Devlin admitted making dishonest representations, failing to disclose information legally required and not completing building work as agreed at properties in Selly Park Road, Selly Oak; Weymoor Road, Harborne; High Heath Close, Bournville; and Linthurst Road, Barnt Green, between November 2013 and January 2015.
Devlin, who was made bankrupt in November 2013, no longer had a bank account so arranged for customers to make further payments into Dunn’s (his nephew) account – which Dunn would withdraw for Devlin. Devlin’s period of bankruptcy ended in November 2014. Homeowners had made payments ranging from £2,535 to £139,000.
Cllr Barbara Dring, chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Birmingham Trading Standards received a number of complaints about Scott Devlin’s trading practices, which often left his customers out of pocket with unfinished work done to their homes.
“Having any kind of building or maintenance work done to your home can be stressful and costly but these customers were misled about the builder’s reputation and ability to complete jobs on budget and to time.
“This is why it’s vital that we bring cases like this to the public’s attention – to ensure they avoid becoming victims of cowboy builders like this.”