Builder convicted in Crown Court after defrauding elderly couple for £365,000 in fake construction costs

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A 21 year old fraudster, who had been defrauding the vulnerable since the tender age of 15, has been convicted at Reading Crown Court and sentenced to four years and eight months in a young offenders’ institution for ‘cynical, sophisticated, heartless asset-stripping’.

The reputedly cocaine addicted Irish traveller worked a two year scam on an elderly couple, Ronald and Lucy Dew (90 and 92), in which he managed to dupe them out of £365,000 in total, more than the likely market value of their 4 bed detached house.

Following roof repairs to their home, at a cost of £17,000, the Dews received a knock at the door, out of the blue, by Mr Casey, who claimed that they now had a damp problem. He called himself Jeffrey Andrews and fleeced the couple for a substantial deposit of £18,000 for a heavy duty dehumidifier. Not satisfied, he asked for another £18,300 for a larger device.

When Mr Dew tried to get the deposits back, he was told he could ‘jump the queue’ by paying more.

The prosecuting lawyer, Daniel Fugallo, stated that Casey told Mr Dew

“If he divested himself of all he and his wife’s assets and put them over to him then all this, together with the deposits, would be returned to him. He was told to tell the banks none of this was to do with building work, but personal matters.’

Confused Mr Dew handed over yet more money. When he got suspicious and declined to hand over an additional £13,000 to Mr Casey, the criminal snatched the envelope and ran off.

Casey’s run came to an end when, in April 2012, he came to the house of another couple he had been scamming, the Dobrijevics. He had already taken tens of thousands from them for re-tarmacing their driveway, which he claimed had been done poorly previously, and was returning to their home for an additional £19,000. Police were lying in wait.

Casey admitted three money-laundering offences, two counts of conspiracy to defraud and robbery.

Judge Nicholas Wood is reported to have commented:

“It was a cynical, sophisticated, selfish, heartless asset-stripping of a gullible 88-year-old man causing great shock, divesting him of his life savings of £365,000”

Cowboy builders and con artists are all too common. It is always wise to be careful when someone knocks on your door offering to do work for you. Frequently, as in the article above, these people prey on the vulnerable and the old, so if you have elderly parents, make sure they are vigilant.

We would suggest that you take the contact details of any door to door tradesmen offering work you would be interested in, look them up online and ask for opinions from people or tradesmen you know that have had work done or may know that person from the trade.

Most importantly, only get work done from a reputable tradesman. Hiring a ‘cowboy’, even if cheaper in the short term, will cost you money in the long term.

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