Quantity surveyor found guilty of fraud
A North Yorkshire man has been found guilty of fraud following a two-day trial at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court.
Robin Howe, 67, of Morton Wynates, Morton-on-Swale, Northallerton, was found guilty on Thursday (3 October) of fraud by abuse of position under Section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006, after being prosecuted by Darlington Borough Council following an investigation by its Trading Standards officers.
The court heard that Howe had provided services as a quantity surveyor to Lissa and Nigel Scott, from Heighington, for a building work project to extend their home.
However, Howe used his position to promote the services of a particular builder, who was awarded the contract. He then encouraged staged payments to the builder despite problems with the work being carried out.
He also failed to disclose to the victims that he had received an ‘introductory’ fee from the builder.
Lissa and Nigel Scott said after the hearing: “Mr Howe abused a position of trust in order to promote the interests of a rogue builder at our expense.
“We feel extremely disappointed and let down. Had it not been for Mr Howe we would never have come into contact with this builder, whose work was so poor that the entire building had to be demolished. Hopefully this case will help other innocent people avoid being taken in as we were.”
Dawn Taylor, Darlington Borough Council’s Trading Standards and Animal Health Manager, said: “This prosecution is a good result. The victims were left devastated and out of pocket by a greedy fraudster who was looking after his own interests and not theirs.
“The action taken by Trading Standards demonstrates that we will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to bring fraudsters to justice.”
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Cabinet member for community safety added: “This was a complex investigation by Trading Standards and I am pleased that the result provided considerable reassurance to the victims.
“Trading Standards is committed to protecting the rights of Darlington citizens, investigating those who are not operating within the law and taking robust enforcement action.”
Howe will be sentenced at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on 13 November.
For more information about the work of Trading Standards, part of Darlington Borough Council’s Community Safety Team, visit: www.darlington.gov.uk/communitysafety