Portsmouth rogue trader jailed for cheating 'vulnerable' clients out of £180,000
A CALLOUS window fitter who swindled £180,000 out of ‘vulnerable’ clients and left their properties marred by botched building works has been jailed for five years.
Shameless Scott Dungworth, of Camcross Close, Paulsgrove, was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday.
The 43-year-old left victims at seven Hampshire and West Sussex homes ‘worse off’ by taking their money and ploughing them with excuses not to undertake work he was contracted to complete in 2016 and 2017.
In one case a Cosham couple, David and Pearl Barnden, aged 75 and 77, were wracked with worry after being cheated out of thousands.
Dungworth was prosecuted by Trading Standards at Portsmouth City Council after it was alerted to a string of consumer concerns about him.
Investigators used a digital paper trail from an invoice application for independent traders, called Joist, to uncover a comprehensive trail of his victims.
They found he had traded as Skyline Construction Limited and Limelight Builders UK, with other invoices paying reference to Titan Construction.
Judge Roger Hetherington, sentencing, slammed Dungworth for peddling a ‘repetition of lies’ at his trial that he previously gave to clients.
He was found guilty of 11 counts of fraud and two counts of participating in fraudulent business on November 7.
Judge Hetherington said: ‘The total loss [for victims], including the cost of remedial works that had to be or are yet to be undertaken, has been put at about £180,000.’
He added: ‘You did not do the work you promised to do and gave the householders endless excuses, which would have become worrying in the extreme and ultimately very distressing and upsetting to them.’
The court heard there was no evidence Dungworth used fraudulent money for ‘high living’, but often took cash and put it ‘straight into his pocket’.
On Mr and Mrs Barnden’s woe, Judge Hertherington added: ‘They lost approximately £57,000 in cash and have been left with nothing to show for it.
‘They’ve been left with a bill for further repairs in order to achieve compliance with building regulations.
‘They have been left with a property that is not only an eyesore, but a constant reminder of the fact it needs further work done.’
Trading Standards will take Dungworth to another hearing to claw back the cash.