Rogue trader jailed after conning pensioner out of £16,000
A rogue trader who swindled £16,000 from a Black Country pensioner has been locked up for nearly two years.
David Hodgkins, aged 39, left his 79-year-old victim with a damaged roof and failed to fix his leaking conservatory despite charging him £11,000, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Hodgkins also failed to pay back a £5,000 loan which the victim had given him to repair his van and boiler which were allegedly broken.
The court heard Hodgkins preyed upon his vulnerable victim, from Stourbridge, to fund his addiction to drugs and alcohol.
In total he scammed £16,000 between August and October 2018.
The defendant, of Elmley Close, Kidderminster, was sent to jail for 21 months after he pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation.
The court heard Hodgkins took the victim to a bank to withdraw money, which left staff concerned at the amount of money he was taking.
Mr Mark Jackson, prosecuting, continued: “He took the victim to a building society on about 20 occasions and had cheques made out in the defendant’s name.
"On one occasion, the building society staff became so concerned that they put warning markers against the victim’s account.
"They called the police and officers attended and spoke to the defendant.
"Unfortunately, rather than beginning an investigation, they accepted what they were told [that the money was for the work].”
The victim withdrew a further £1,300 after police left.
However, police referred the matter to Dudley Council’s trading standards department – which is when Hodgkins’ downfall began.
Defending, Mr Christopher O’Gorman, said: “He was a Class A drug and alcohol user at the time. He was resorting to just about anything – just short of violence – to fund his habits.”
The court was told Hodgkins has 14 previous convictions.
Hodgkins was given a third off his sentence for his guilty plea.
He was jailed for 21 months on one count of fraud by false representation, and given an additional six months for the other two counts, with the sentences to run concurrently.
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