Bogus builder sentenced to Community Order
Michael John William Verrechia, of Eastwood Road in Maidstone, was sentenced to a 18 month Community Order after pleading guilty to five offences including money laundering, fraud and unfair trading.
Mr Verrechia, who appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on 16 October, operated under the names British Roofing and Building, White Rose Home Improvements and Red Rose Home Improvements from fake addresses, defrauded consumers out of £25,000 for substandard work and carrying out unnecessary roofing and building work. As well as the Community Order requiring him to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work, Mr Verrechia was fined £300 and given a 3 month curfew ordering him to remain at his home between the hours of 8pm and 6am.
The case was brought to court by Kingston and Sutton Council’s Trading Standards, part of the boroughs’ Shared Regulatory Services function, following a complaint from a Kingston resident who hired Michael Verrechia to re-roof their property.
Mr Verrechia made a number of fraudulent claims to the homeowner, including being a member of the Confederation of Roofing Contractors, suggesting that new roofs came with a 20-year guarantee, that he had £1 million public liability insurance and that no payment was required until work was complete.
Once completed, the resident immediately noticed problems and complained. Mr Verrechia became abusive and pressured the victim into making a series of bank transfers totalling £6,400. Two other customers also said they were coerced into having unnecessary roofing work, and later pressured into overpaying for work carried out.
Cllr Dave Ryder-Mills, portfolio holder with responsibility for trading standards at Kingston Council, said:
“Our role is to protect our residents, so we take these matters very seriously. This a very good result for our trading standards team, and we will continue to work to ensure that rogue traders are prosecuted.
“We encourage residents to not deal with traders who call at their door, seek recommendations from friends and family before undertaking any works, and to get a number of different written quotes before making a decision.”
In passing the sentence, the Chair of the Magistrates’ Court said that she hoped that Mr Verrechia would never again contemplate doing something similar and also hoped that this was a salutary lesson to him.
Kingston and Sutton Trading Standards have successfully obtained £15,400 from Michael Verrechia to compensate the victims.