A Carmarthenshire rogue trader was jailed for 19 months after he failed to pay money back to the victims of his rogue trading.
Richard Victor Rees, of Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, attended Swansea Magistrates Court on Wednesday 24 September 2014. He appeared before District Judge Richard Williams in an enforcement hearing to answer why he had not paid monies to victims and Powys County Council’s costs, as ordered by Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.
This latest enforcement hearing was linked to a Proceeds of Crime investigation following a successful prosecution of Rees for targeting vulnerable elderly people.
In February 2014, Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court ordered the handing over of approximately £80,000 of the trader’s assets to be paid as compensation to 16 sets of victims who the trader had taken money off. The court ordered that the order must be paid in six months and that a default sentence of 19 months imprisonment would be imposed if it was not paid in the time period laid out.
In the same hearing, the court also ordered the trader to pay approximately £41,000 in costs within six months after an application from the council’s Trading Standards Service. These costs were the cost of the original investigation.
The Proceeds of Crime action took place after the trader was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, in August 2012, for using aggressive commercial practices across Powys and parts of south Wales. The trader had pleaded guilty to seven charges including ‘Aggressive Commercial Practices’ offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations in April 2012. Mr Rees was taken away to start his sentence in jail.
Clive Jones, the council's Professional Lead for Trading Standards, said: “In this case the £80,000 confiscation will go back to the victims who were traumatised by the activities of this trader which is clearly some form of justice to the harm caused.
We would like to thank Dyfed Powys Police’s Financial Investigation Team and Scambusters Wales who helped in the original action. We see such actions as a clear deterrent to any that attempt these illegal ventures and financial investigation is now an important part of our toolkit to deal with offenders.”
Matthew Cridland, the Wales Scambusters Project Manager at Newport City Council, explained: “The Scam Busters Team is pleased with the robust enforcement action taken by Powys Trading Standards. Scambusters is committed to targeting rogue trading across Wales and successful partnership working, as has been demonstrated with Operation Diamond, is the cornerstone of its efforts.”
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Notes to Editors
About the National Trading Standards Board
The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
The National Trading Standards Board provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
The National Trading Standards Board funds the Scambuster Teams that target rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CeNTSA)
North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
Tri Region Scambusters (TRS), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LoTSA)
Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.