A rogue trader who treated a resident of Kilburn, North London, as his “personal piggy-bank” has received a suspended prison sentence after being prosecuted by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards.
Dashamir Noka, trading as DN Plumbing, Heating and Building Construction Ltd, used the money he swindled from his victim to fund a gambling addiction.
In April 2019 Noka’s company was hired to renovate and extend a kitchen – by May, he had received more than £50,000 from the homeowner, when all he had done was demolish the original kitchen and dig up the garden.
After claiming he had lost his bank card so could not pay for his workers or materials, the homeowner was pressured into parting with another £7,000.
When Brent and Harrow Trading Standards officers investigated, they discovered that most of the money had been spent in casinos, betting shops and other gambling places. Noka claimed that £28,000 had been spent on building materials, but officers found no proof of this.
When the homeowner appeared in court, she said Noka treated her “like his personal piggy bank”, and that her family is “still impacted by the life-changing consequences of losing nearly £60,000”.
She added, “The days, weeks and months of no progress, with the back of our house exposed, a broken boiler, dirt everywhere and a makeshift kitchen, while we lived there with our 18-month-old and four-year-old, were horrific”.
In sentencing, Judge Johnson said Noka took money knowing it would be spent on his own selfish addiction. He had the homeowner “over a barrel” and took advantage of that.
Noka was handed a 20-week prison sentence at Harrow Crown Court, suspended for 18 months and was ordered to pay back his victim £20,000 in compensation.
Simon Legg, Head of Trading Standards for Brent Council and Harrow Council, said: “Noka’s actions had a devastating impact on the lives of an innocent family and I am pleased he has now been forced to face his crimes in court.
“Home renovations can cause stress even when they go to plan, but having to face a rogue tradesperson at the same time is dreadful, especially if you have a young family trying to live amongst the unfinished job.
“Always be extra cautious when handing over money, ensure your contract has clear payment terms and that agreed works have been completed.”