A fraudulent trader who exploited elderly and vulnerable residents in Angmering and Littlehampton has been sentenced to three years and nine months in prison following an investigation by West Sussex County Council Trading Standards.
Lewes Crown Court heard how 48-year-old Albert Brazil of Fullers Walk, Littlehampton, carried out work at two residential properties which was grossly overcharged, unnecessary, and poorly executed. Some of the work was not carried out at all and virtually worthless.
The victims, who were elderly and vulnerable, have been left significantly out of pocket and facing expensive remedial repair costs.
Mr Brazil was sentenced today (Friday 6 March) for Fraudulent Trading and Money Laundering contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
In total he received £55,360 from two victims for building and/or roofing work which took place in Angmering and Littlehampton between 2017 and 2018. Payments were requested in cash with larger transactions paid via third party bank accounts where money was then withdrawn in cash or transferred around the banking system.
The court heard how one victim used life savings and pension funds to pay for the work and is now financially disadvantaged in their retirement as a result.
Richard Sargeant, West Sussex County Council Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “These were serious crimes which have had a considerable impact on the victims.
“Our investigation uncovered blatant lies about the condition and need for works to be undertaken. Following this, exorbitant costs were then charged for poorly executed and unnecessary works dragged out over a considerable period of time.
“If you’re considering having work undertaken, we would recommend using a Trading Standards approved ‘Buy With Confidence’ trader.”
Anyone who is concerned about a rogue trader can contact Trading Standards online or Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.
To find a Trading Standards approved trader please visit: www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk