A man who set up five fake companies to illegally gain over £175,000 has been jailed.
James Simpson Taylor (4/3/60) of Ivy Green Drive, Oldham, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, five counts of fraudulent trading, and making an article for use in fraud.
On Tuesday 15 August 2017, he was sentenced to 36 months in prison at Manchester Crown Court, Minshull Street.
Between 2014 and 2015 Taylor set up five companies selling replacement conservatory roofs. He arranged for advertisements in the national press, magazines and the internet, attracting large numbers of enquiries from customers all over the country, many of whom were elderly.
Taylor agreed to work and took deposits from customers, usually between £1000 to £2000, but he failed to carry out the required work for all but a handful of customers. Within a short time of his company taking the deposits it then stopped trading, and Taylor set up a fresh company and repeated the process.
Taylor employed salesmen and surveyors who all believed they were working for legitimate companies and many of whom are still owed money for work they carried out.
He rented multiple serviced and ‘virtual’ offices to create the illusion of well-established trustworthy national companies, but he left a trail of unpaid bills and invoices, and created fake payslips.
He also used multiple alias names and changed his mobile numbers multiple times during his trading, which meant that customers were unable to contact him about their orders.
Taylor spent customers’ money on himself, including using it to pay rent, food shopping, iTunes, and paying the vet.
In total he defrauded customers of more than £175,000.
Taylor also defrauded British Gas, when he was living in a property supplied by them but repeatedly changed his identity and phone numbers to pose as a new tenant, leaving unpaid gas and electric bills of over £14,000.
Detective Constable Andrew Butcher of GMP’s Fraud Investigation Team said: “Taylor’s selfish and manipulative behaviour caused misery for his customers and those he employed, who have been left with huge losses.
“Taylor also told numerous lies to customers about why their conservatory roofs had not been fitted, including that his mother had died of cancer, that his partner was in a coma and that he was unwell. He also promised some refunds, and on the few occasions he sent refund cheques to customers, he then cancelled them.
“This sentence shows how robustly the police and courts deal with fraud and should send a firm message to anyone who thinks they can get away with it.”