An Aberystwyth builder said to have an appalling record for conning householders out of money has been jailed again.
Peter Jason Gilmore, aged 43, charged an 84 year old woman £40,000 for work that was worth no more than £7,000.
It was the fifth time he had been convicted of charging for work he had not carried and the fourth time his victim had been elderly.
Gilmore, of 26 Cambrian Street, admitted fraud and was jailed today for three years.
Mark Lea, aged 23, of 32 Cestrian Street, Connahs Quay, admitted money laundering by cashing two of the cheques into his bank account before handing most of the money to Gilmore in cash. He was jailed for 20 weeks, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work for the community.
Robin Rouch, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court how Gilmore had persuaded Miss Thesca Thomas to have building work carried out on her home at Netherbrook, Glanstewi, Penrhyncoch.
Mr Rouch said Miss Thomas had problems with her memory and had since been diagnosed as having dementia.
A neighbour, Paul Beech, became concerned about the number of times he saw Gilmore at the house and was alarmed to receive a telephone call from Miss Thomas telling him, “The thieves are back.”
He called the police who arrived to find Lea doing some weeding. While they were there Gilmore arrived claiming Miss Thomas owed him even more money.
Mr Rouch said police discovered that Miss Thomas had paid Gilmore £23,450 between January and September, 2014. In addition, Lea had cashed a cheque for £3,750, and given £3,500 to Gilmore, and then one for £12,900, of which £12,500 was handed over to Gilmore.
Mr Rouch said it was accepted that some work had been carried out on the house, but a surveyor with Ceredigion County Council thought it was worth of maximum of £7,000, reducing the overall fraud from £40,000 to £33,000.
The court heard that Gilmore had previous convictions for 91 offences.
His barrister, James Hartson, said he had spent all the money on heroin.
Tom Scapens, representing Lea, said he had been suspicious about the cheques he had been asked to cash and was ashamed to be told they had come from Miss Thomas.
Mr Rouch told the court that a Proceeds of Crime investigation had failed to identify any assets belonging to Gilmore, who was ordered to pay a nominal £1.
He said such was Miss Thomas’ memory issues that she was still unaware of how much money she had lost.
Judge Paul Thomas told Gilmore, “There are few more despicable types of fraud.
“You took advantage of her age and infirmity. Crimes like this are all too common but still appalling.
“You took as much money from her as you could hoping she would not realise what you were doing.”
Judge Thomas said he was satisfied that Gilmore had never intended to provide value for money and the little work he had carried out was done only to hide the fraud.
He told Gilmore that his “appalling record for preying on elderly people” was a major aggravated feature of his offending.