Wolverhampton conman fined and given suspended sentence for ripping off trusting residents

A conman has avoided jail after being prosecuted four times by Wolverhampton Council for ripping off trusting householders for £3,000.

Wolverhampton Council has prosecuted the conman four times
Wolverhampton Council has prosecuted the conman four times

Manmohan Singh, who has been previously known as Harjit Singh Marwaha and Michael Singh, claimed to be a reputable architect.

He charged his victims fees for services during planning and building control applications, which he failed to pass on to the relevant organisations. In some cases, the fees never needed to be paid in the first place.

During a trial held at the Nightingale Court, Park Hall Hotel, 41-year-old Singh, of Bee Lane, Fordhouses, was found guilty of three charges under the Fraud Act 2006.

He was given a 40-week suspended sentence, 100 hours community service, was ordered to pay £10,000 in costs, £600 in compensation and a £140 victim surcharge.

Singh had previously been prosecuted for offences under the Fraud Act and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations in 2013, 2016 and again in 2018.

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment and climate change at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "This is a catalogue of cons that has been carried out without care or conscience by one persistent offender and I’m glad to see some justice has been served.

"It's vital that we bring cases like this to the public's attention, to ensure they avoid becoming victims to selfish fraudsters."

In the latest set of offences, a householder from Birmingham contacted Singh for advice about a one-storey development to his home. He was charged £1,474 for building regulations specifications drawing and party wall agreement paperwork, a ‘council fee’ and a ‘Severn Trent’ fee.

The householder subsequently found that money had not been paid to building inspectors nor was the ‘Severn Trent’ fee he had been changed actually required.

A second victim, also from Birmingham, paid Singh £905 for drawing plans, structural calculations and building regulations. But fees were not passed on to building inspectors to do the work.

A third homeowner, from Solihull, was charged £724 for plans to be drawn up, building regulations, Severn Trent approval and structural engineer calculations.

Officers from City of Wolverhampton Council’s Trading Standards team investigated and found that Singh had set up and dissolved two separate companies between 2018 and 2019, enabling him to use different names.

After several requests for refunds from Singh, money was eventually repaid in instalments to all three householders over a course of many months.

A separate hearing will take place later this year to consider a Criminal Behaviour Order.

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