£10,000 fine for Rugby builder found guilty of fraud

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A Rugby builder who overcharged an 89-year-old customer for ‘a poor job’ has been ordered by a court to pay £10,000.

Malcolm John Underwood, 65, trading as M.J.Underwood, of Cambridge Street, Rugby was investigated after Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards officers received a complaint from the family of an elderly Rugby woman.

The woman had employed Underwood to carry out some pointing work on the brickwork of her end terrace house.

Underwood’s business carried out the work over a period of several months in 2010 and in total charged her £6,850.

The elderly woman’s relatives became concerned that she had been significantly overcharged and urged her to speak to Warwickshire Trading Standards.

Officers said Underwood had used two young people still on a bricklaying course to do the work, which had been done to a very poor standard. They also said the woman had been overcharged by 188 per cent.

Officers asked experts to examine the work done who informed them that even if the work had been done correctly, the cost of the work should not have been more than £2,375. Therefore the elderly woman had been overcharged by around £4,475.

At Nuneaton Justice Centre on Friday Underwood was found guilty of one offence of fraud by false representation under the Fraud Act 2006.

He was ordered to pay £5,000 compensation to the elderly woman, £5,000 towards costs and made the subject of a supervision order for 12 months.

In mitigation Stuart Jeffery, defending, said that Underwood was a man of previous good character who had ceased trading in 2011 because of his age and ill-health and a reduction in available work.

The business was now being carried on by Underwood’s grandson.

Janet Faulkner, head of Warwickshire Trading Standards, said: “Warwickshire Trading Standards will continue to work to protect elderly and vulnerable people across our community from unscrupulous traders who seek to take advantage of them.”