A former boss of a roofing company has been jailed after admitting he charged a customer tens of thousands of pounds when he shouldn’t have.
Richard Whelan, of Aragon Green in Blacon, appeared at Mold Crown Court Friday afternoon.
The 40-year-old had previously admitted 11 regulatory violations involving a roofer he took on in 2019 for a Holywell resident named Julie Hughes.
Flintshire Council prosecutor Laura Shepherd told the court that initially Whelan, who was then a director of RPW Roofing Services Limited, quoted the complainant £14,000 to reroof her bungalow and an additional £3,500 for the roof of an extension built by someone. be built differently.
Throughout the job, he gained the complainant’s trust and told her that he would make sure she was not taken advantage of.
But as the work progressed, he told her on numerous occasions that he had incurred additional costs and that several other things had to be completed or installed in the property – pushing up the price.
Between August and November 2019, the complainant gave him more than £40,000 in bank transfers and cash.
The more she paid, the more concerned she became, the court heard.
When she finally refused to pay any more money, he stopped answering the phone.
The work was later examined and found to be substandard, and the roof was “left in a dangerous state” with loosened tiles, misplaced windows and leaks.
He even asked her £4,000 to remove asbestos, but when the roof was later examined, it was found to contain no asbestos.
Whelan also charged Mrs Hughes £4,000 for ‘bat and rat grills’ she didn’t need and overcharged her for tiles he’d already bought – which police confirmed by checking his bills.
When interviewed last September, Whelan accepted “most” of what he was told. but said he couldn’t remember some details.
He said he was willing to pay her back and make things right, but the court has heard so far that he has not paid back a cent.
In a victim statement read in court, Ms Hughes said she had felt physically ill from the violations, labeling Whelan “sly.”
“The unfairness of it was disturbing,” she said.
“I was helpless.”
Myles Wilson, defending, said: “Mr Whelan gained experience as a roofer working with other roofers and made the disastrous decision to start his own business; RPW Roofing.
“He made a mess of it. He used men to do the work and struggled to find money to pay their wages.
“He has now stopped working as a roofer and has returned to work as a labourer. “He felt out of his depth and ashamed of how he behaved towards Mrs Hughes.
“He has clearly benefited.”
When asked by Judge David Hale if there was any prospect of the complainant getting her money back, Mr Wilson said: “He just doesn’t have the wherewithal to do it – he doesn’t have a bank account with cash.
“It’s unfortunate for everyone involved.”
Judge Hale told Whelan, “You went to this job and you used that like a cash cow.” Obviously, some things change during a contact, but this was extreme. “You promised her so much, and when you couldn’t take it anymore, you didn’t answer the phone.
“You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Judge Hale handed him a total sentence of 18 months in prison and banned him from being a company director for five years.
Whelan must also pay a £149 victim’s allowance within three months of his release.