A Sheffield painter-and-decorator has been handed a suspended jail sentence after defrauding a solicitors’ firm where he had been due to carry out almost £20,000 of work.
Lucien Carter of Frickley Road, Nether Green demanded upfront payments of £17,900 for redecorating work at Harthills Solicitors in Rotherham.
But less than £4,000 of work was ever completed - with Carter providing the practice manager with a falsified invoice for goods he said he had ordered for the job but had not done so.
Sheffield Trading Standards began an investigation in 2014 after complaints were made about Carter’s business, Carters Quality Painters and Decorators, formally of Oakbrook Road and Sharrow Vale Road, Sheffield.
In February 2014, Carter had quoted for work in excess of £19,000 for a firm of solicitors based in Rotherham and in March received a deposit advance of £10,000.
Although work was still to start on the office renovation he then demanded a further payment of £4,300. When work eventually started in July 2014, managers at the law firm became concerned when Carter’s employees were going to local shops to purchase materials.
Challenged about where the deposit money had been spent, Carter falsified an invoice from the Yorkshire Decorators Centre, to claim he had purchased more than £9,000 of materials. None of the materials had been bought and the law firm were misled into paying an additional £3,600 believing the work would soon be completed.
Carter, aged 47, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation in May and was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for 12 months. He is also required to carry out 200 hours of community service.
Judge Recorder Kramer said since Carter’s guilty plea, claims that the money would be repaid have not been followed up and ordered a financial investigation to see whether the money can be recovered.
Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for Environment at Sheffield Council said: “The Trading Standards team has again demonstrated our commitment to tackling rogue trading, protecting local residents and businesses from aggressive and fraudulent trading.
“We are grateful to all those who came forward to provide evidence during the investigation and would encourage people to report incidents, whatever their concerns, so we can take action whenever possible.”
People with concerns or suspicions about a scam, rogue trader or fraudulent business activity can report those concerns to Sheffield Trading Standards at 0114 2736290 or Trading.firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the Citizens Advice Helpline on 03454 040506.
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