Three people who helped swindle customers out of thousands in a double glazing con have been sentenced. Avtar Pawar, Paula Bowdler and Gerald Smith all played a role in the scheme, masterminded by boss Harkanwaljit Khabra.
Customers responded to adverts for cheap double glazing but often the work was never completed. Working under the company names of Stormguard then Town and Country, the group included a small-print condition that money had to be handed over before the work began.
At first, shoddy work was completed, but from mid-2008 onwards, work was never carried out.
Khabra would arrange for a salesman, initially Pawar and later Smith, to visit people's homes to complete orders and take deposits.
When one woman Khabra had approached to assist him backed out, Pawar introduced him to Bowdler during a meeting at Phoenix Industrial Estate in Oldbury.
Pawar, aged 45, of Bath Street, Sedgley, was given a nine-month sentence suspended for two years and told to do 180 hours unpaid work after pleading guilty to three charges of fraud.
Bowdler, aged 42, of Quail Close, Heath Hayes, admitted being concerned in an arrangement to facilitate the acquisition of criminal property and was given a six- month sentence, suspended for two years, as well as 180 hours of unpaid work.
Smith, 66, of Cofton Grove, Longbridge, was given a community sentence with 150 hours unpaid work after he admitted fraud.
Khabra, 53, of Lichfield Street, Tipton, initially denied seven charges of fraud, four of forgery and one of converting criminal property, meaning the cases of the other three could not be reported. But at a pre-trial hearing he pleaded guilty to all charges.
He was bailed ahead of a pre-sentence report.