Jailed bosses have to repay £35,000

Rodney Stone, aged 64, of Bamford Avenue, North Wingfield, Chesterfield, jailed for unfair and aggressive sales techniques on elderly and vulnerable residents in the town.
Rodney Stone, aged 64, of Bamford Avenue, North Wingfield, Chesterfield, jailed for unfair and aggressive sales techniques on elderly and vulnerable residents in the town.
0
Have your say

TWO company bosses locked up for conning elderly and vulnerable customers into buying scooters, stairlifts, beds and wheelchairs have been ordered to pay back nearly £35,000 of their ill-gotten gains.

Rodney Stone, aged 64, and Geoffrey Moore, 48, of REO Marketing in Chesterfield, were jailed last year for using illegal sales tactics on elderly customers.

Now the pair have been ordered to pay back cash to the authorities following a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Derby Crown Court.

Stone, the former director of the company who was jailed for three years, must pay back £28,000 within six months or face a further 18-month prison sentence.

Former sales manager Moore, jailed for four years, must pay back £5,400 within six months or face a further six months behind bars.

The ruling also means seven victims who gave evidence to support the case will be eligible for compensation.

Stone, of Bamford Avenue, North Wingfield, admitted 15 charges of using unfair or aggressive commercial practices, while Moore, of Nethermoor Road, Wingerworth, Chesterfield, plead guilty to nine similar charges.

Derbyshire County Council trading standards officers said REO Marketing used bullying techniques and inflated prices to make quick profits.

The firm, which was wound up last year after the court proceedings, sold scooters, stairlifts, beds and wheelchairs across England.

Derbyshire County Council began investigating the firm after receiving 37 complaints from February to October 2010.

Trading standards officers searched five premises under warrant including the company’s call centre at Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield, and its registered office at Barker Lane, Chesterfield.

Business records seized included The Door – the firm’s 51-page training manual for salesmen which described sales practices in detail.

Coun Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This was one of the biggest ever investigations run by our trading standards officers – resulting in the longest sentences for a case we have prosecuted.

“We are delighted the proceeds of crime hearing now means they will have to pay back some of their ill-gotten gains.

“Even better is the outcome that some of their elderly and ill residents will be eligible for compensation.”