Dishonest businesses will be punished!
Posted: 7th August 2018
Members of the public who are preyed upon by dishonest businesses have the comfort of knowing that those responsible face severe punishment. In one case on point, the fraudulent managing director of a company that offered servicing and repair of householders’ vacuum cleaners received a lengthy jail term.
Telephone sales personnel cold-called punters, leading them to believe that they represented a well-known vacuum cleaner manufacturer, with which the company in fact had no connection. Special offer prices as low as £20 were offered, but fees much higher than that were routinely demanded.
Although some customers were happy with the service provided, others were not and the quality of the work done was extremely variable. The manufacturer provided evidence that its machines did not require the type of servicing provided by the company and that unqualified work on them rendered warranties invalid.
After many complaints were received, the managing director and his mother, who had helped him run the business, were prosecuted. Whilst accepting that he was possibly not the best businessman in the world, he argued that he had not been dishonest.
The company had grown too big too quickly and he had lost managerial control. His mother denied involvement in the day-to-day running of the business. Both of them were, however, convicted of conspiracy to defraud. He was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and she received a three-year term.
Challenging their convictions before the Court of Appeal, they pointed to alleged flaws in the trial process and argued that fresh evidence had since emerged that undermined the evidence of a prosecution witness. In dismissing their appeals, however, the Court noted that there was an abundance of material indicating the involvement of each of them in the fraudulent enterprise.