Two brothers who defrauded elderly and vulnerable residents on park home sites out of more than £100,000 have been condemned as “greedy and unscrupulous” by a judge.
Nathan King, 38, and John King, 34, who traded together as Guardian Park Homes Ltd, were today jailed for a total of five years at Newcastle Crown Court.
The frauds involved the deliberate targeting of park home property owners, most of whom were elderly and vulnerable, on sites across the country from Northumberland to Somerset.
The case involved a total of 27 victims. This included a 68-year-old vulnerable woman with hearing problems living alone in North Yorkshire, who was defrauded of £2,700. She was subjected to high pressure sales techniques and intimidated into agreeing to the work.
The brothers claimed they could fit external under-floor insulation to park home properties, which are difficult to keep warm, to help prevent heat loss.
They also made claims that jacks supporting the properties needed replacing and, in some cases, frightened victims by telling them their homes were in danger of collapsing.
The victims were charged grossly inflated amounts for poor quality and unnecessary works, or works that provided none of the claimed benefits.
The brothers’ foreman, Leon Williams, 29, of Coventry, was also sentenced after pleading guilty to his part in the frauds by leading the gangs of workers, suggesting additional works to properties, completing company paperwork and taking payment from victims.
He was arrested with other workers in March 2015 at the home of an 82-year-old vulnerable woman living alone in the Skipton area. Attempts had been made to defraud her of £7,000.
Nathan King, of Tewskesbury, Gloucestershire, and John King, of Coventry, were each sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment at Newcastle Crown Court. Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering offences on the first day of their trial at Teesside Crown Court.
Williams was given 10 months suspended for two years and ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work for the community. Nathan King was also disqualified from being a company director for five years.
The court heard statements from victims in the case, describing their loss of confidence, damage to their health, the extent of the financial problems the offending had caused them and their loss of faith in engaging with traders. Judge Stephen Ashurst told the men: “This is in my judgement a bad case of its type. You are brazen, greedy and unscrupulous men.”
Speaking after the case, Matt O’Neill of North Yorkshire County Council said: “This case demonstrates yet again the unscrupulous and determined way in which doorstep crime offenders are prepared to target the most vulnerable and cause them financial detriment and distress.”