A prosecution brought by Warrington Borough Council Trading Standards has resulted in a prison sentence for a rogue builder who committed money laundering offences.
Mark Wayne Elliott (56) of Prescot was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment on 17 February at Liverpool Crown Court. He had previously entered a guilty plea to an offence of money laundering, having amassed £63,500 from building work carried out at a property in Culcheth.
Elliott came to the attention of Warrington Trading Standards following a complaint about the poor standard of work carried out at the home in spring 2020.
The Trading Standards team, assisted by a building industry expert witness, determined that roofing and building work carried out at the house ‘fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent contractor’, and that the level of workmanship was so poor that all work was required to be redone by professional tradespeople.
Officers traced Elliott via cheques he cashed in to his bank account, which had been written by the householder.
Initially Elliott claimed not to have carried out the work and said he only ‘cashed the cheque for men he knew from the pub’, claiming he only kept 10% of the value of cheques as his fee.
When presented with the building expert’s findings, Elliot admitted that he carried out some of the building work, but could provide no evidence of the men from the pub who he claimed had carried out the rest of work.
In sentencing, the judge gave Elliott credit for his early guilty plea and previous good conduct but, given the amount of money involved and significant financial and emotional impact these events had had on the householder, he imposed the immediate custodial sentence.
He also set a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation timetable to establish the whereabouts of any of the defendant’s assets that can be used as compensation for the householder, given the remedial works required. These enquires remain ongoing.
Cllr Hitesh Patel, Warrington Borough Council cabinet member for environment, housing and public protection, said: “We will always take the strongest possible action against rogue builders and this criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.
“The actions of this individual caused real misery and hardship for the homeowner and we are hopeful that they will receive as much compensation as possible.”