TWO brothers from Poole have been sentenced after defrauding an elderly man out of more than £50,000.
In May 2020, rogue traders Billy Banks and Jake Holland targeted an 84-year-old man from Corsham who had dementia, telling him he had a loose tile on his roof.
The trader told the victim he had a spare tile in his van which he would use to carry out the repair.
The situation quickly escalated, and the victim was told that the property needed immediate repair.
The rogue traders, who visited on a number of occasions, entered the loft hatch to carry out work from the inside of the property and told the victim a poisonous paint had been used in the loft space.
He was informed he should not open the loft hatch to prevent fumes escaping.
Later, a chartered building surveyor, instructed by Wiltshire Council Trading Standards, later inspected the work carried out and valued it at £1,660.
He also noted that the work which had been carried out was substandard.
Due to the victim’s dementia, he cannot recall how much cash he had withdrawn and paid to the unknown male, but financial checks show that between May 29 and July 2, 2020, the victim had made six cash withdrawals from his account totalling £20,500.
His bank subsequently refused to allow him to make any more withdrawals.
At this point the victim, at the request of the unknown male, wrote out two cheques in part payment for the work for £18,000 each to Banks and Holland.
Family members believe he was also likely to have had substantial amounts of cash within the house which were not found when the incident was reported.
Banks and Holland were arrested and told officers they had been approached by a man in Poole who claimed to know Banks and asked if they would put cheques into their accounts for him.
The money was then withdrawn as cash or transferred to other accounts over the next few days.
Neither Banks or Holland were able to provide a name for the male or explain why the victim had written the cheques out in their names.
They admitted laundering the money, which they knew or suspected to be criminal property.
At Salisbury Crown Court on February 9, the pair were sentenced for their part in the defrauding the male victim of more than £50,000.
Banks, 30, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while 27-year-old Holland received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Jake must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £200 costs. Both men must also pay a victim surcharge.
Cllr Nick Holder, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public protection, said: “Banks and Holland were not involved with the work carried out at the victim’s property, but by allowing their bank accounts to be used they have hindered our Trading Standards team in identifying the rogue traders by acting as money mules.
“If a criminal asks you to receive money into your bank account and then you knowingly withdraw it or transfer it into another account, keeping some of the cash for yourself, then you’re a money mule.
“Money laundering is a crime which could result in a 14-year prison sentence so we hope this case and sentence makes people take notice and not carry out this crime that can devastate people’s lives.”