A FRAUDULENT Redditch trader who ripped off local residents felt the full force of the law last week after pleading guilty to 11 offences.
Daniel Footman, 35, formerly of Raglis Close in Webheath, was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on September 9, 2015 after pleading guilty to nine offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Footman, a sole trader in the business of refurbishing kitchens and bathrooms and laying flooring, was investigated by Worcestershire Regulatory Services Trading Standards team after they received 23 complaints about his business practices.
Between November 2009 and September 2013 Footman was trading under the name of DF Interior Design, offering services to members of the public as well as businesses.
One of the complaints received during this time came from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau who paid £3,000 for work to be carried out but Footman failed to complete the work leaving areas unsafe and unusable.
Other complaints from members of the public stated that work was left unfinished and money was paid up front for materials which were never supplied.
A number of customers demanded their money back and Footman sent cheques which were then dishonoured leaving the customers out of pocket and in some instances needing to instruct other contractors to rectify or complete the unfinished work.
During the investigation it was discovered that Footman was also using trade logos on his van claiming to be a member of the Federation of Master Builders, Trustmark and Guild of Master Craftsmen when he had in fact never been a member of any of these organisations.
Footman was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £6,000 towards the prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £100.
In passing sentence Judge Rundell said: “For four years you treated customers in a dishonest and disreputable fashion.
“This was not a muddle, this was dishonest. You, when pressed for repayment, gave them cheques that were dishonoured.
“This was not a mistake, this was fraud. You used logos (on your van) to which you were not entitled and you used them to persuade people that you were reputable. The difficulties that you had with your relationships does not excuse you.”
A spokesperson for Worcestershire Regulatory Services, said: “This was a tenacious investigation by our Trading Standards team who work to protect the public from dishonest and fraudulent trading.
“I’m glad to see that with the evidence our officers put before the court a just outcome was reached. Our officers strive to bring disreputable and dishonest traders before the courts to seek justice for those that have been conned or ripped off and bring peace of mind to our residents.”