A ‘brazen’ fraudster ‘comprehensively fleeced’ around £56,000 from two pensioners after telling them their wall was at risk of collapse, a court heard.
Window fitter Scott Dungworth, who also goes by the names Scott Madgwick and Mark, created an ‘air of anxiety’ in the Cosham couple aged 75 and 77, it was alleged.
Fearing the wall would collapse the married couple emptied their savings, cashed in ISAs and a bond to pay for the ever-growing bill at their 1889-built home.
Dungworth, 43, is on trial at Portsmouth Crown Court after accused of taking nearly £80,000 from seven households across Hampshire and West Sussex. He denies wrongdoing.
Jurors heard Dungworth was subcontracting for Zenith Windows, fitting windows at the Cosham pensioners’ home when unprompted he checked roof tiles and claimed the gable wall was bowing, prosecutor Malcolm Gibney said.
Giving evidence, pensioner David Barnden said: ‘He thought that there was a problem, and by this point we were getting a bit concerned. He said that the wall may be coming down.
Police were informed after a bank refused the couple a loan for the work, which expanded to include painting the front of the house and replacing a floor joist, jurors were told.
Portsmouth City Council’s Trading Standards found Dungworth had been paid for work for six other households. He traded as Skyline Construction Limited, Limelight Builders UK, and invoices were also found under the name Titan Construction.
Opening the case, Mr Gibney said: ‘What we say is Mr Dungworth is a brazen, flagrant fraudster.
‘He’s a hell of a good salesman and persuades people against their better judgement to disgorge money for work they think is going to be undertaken, money that is no doubt hard-earned and money that they needed for their properties.
‘But they were comprehensively fleeced, and he made any number of excuses thereafter to avoid doing the work.’
Mr Gibney added: ‘When it came to even asking to return the money he didn’t do that either.’
Cases include a North End couple who were allegedly threatened by Dungworth when he was demanding more money. He referred to his subcontractors and told the couple: ‘I’ll let them deal with you.’
A Havant man paid a £4,620 deposit for a single-storey extension to Dungworth and associate Richard Pennell, who were using the logo and name of unconnected firm S&R Group Ltd, and then an extra £400 and £3,195, Mr Gibney said.
The prosecutor said the final payment was made into the account of RJ Ciani - and after delays the homeowner found windows and doors had not even been ordered.
Jurors heard Pennell accepted a caution for breaching the duties any directors should have in running a company - but that Dungworth later used him as a ‘fall guy’ to another couple.
Dungworth, of Camcross Close, Paulsgrove, denies nine charges of fraud, four of fraud by failing to disclose information, engaging in aggressive commercial practice, and two charges of participating in a fraudulent business carried on by a sole trader.