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Men who left customers £30,000 out of pocket are sentenced for fraud 

Two men who defrauded their customers out of around £30,000 have been sentenced following a successful prosecution by Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards Team. 

At an earlier hearing, Thomas Shea entered guilty pleas to four fraud offences, whilst James Stanton, entered guilty pleas to three fraud offences. These related to their participation in a fraudulent business, along with making false statements to consumers. 

Between September 2021 and March 2023, both Stanton and Shea traded under the name JS Masonry, taking money to carry out building work to holiday home properties for four different customers. In the cases where work was done, it was completed to a poor standard and was not rectified when customers complained. Other works were not started at all, despite large deposits being paid. 

At around the same time the pair ordered building products they didn’t pay for and took money from customers for specific materials that were never ordered, pocketing the money. 

Unfinished building works
Unfinished works at a holiday lodge

Shea also admitted participation in two further fraudulent businesses – LD Masonry and County Walling South West. Again, he admitted to failing to carry out agreed works for which he took payment for and never refunded. 

In total, the actions of these men cost their customers in the region of £30,000. 

Stanton and Shea were sentenced at Truro Crown Court on Thursday, July 4.

Stanton, of Doubletrees Court, Par, received an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years, and 100 hours unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £9,224 compensation to the owners of holiday lodges and £2,585 to another customer.  

Shea, of Bodiner Lane, Penzance, was given an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years, and 100 hours unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £9,224 compensation to the owners of holiday lodges, £7,750 to Perranarworthal Cricket Club and £5,932 to another customer.  

Unfinished works at Perranarworthal Cricket Club after Shea failed to return.

Councillor Martyn Alvey, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change at Cornwall Council, said: “This is yet another example of individuals purporting to be legitimate builders and taking advantage of customers by agreeing large upfront deposits for work that they have no intention to complete.

“I'd like to thank our Trading Standards Team which continues to receive a high number of these types of complaint. I would urge those looking to employ traders to do plenty of research and seek references. I would always recommend using a Trading Standards approved business from the Buy With Confidence Scheme.” 

Press release issued on July 8, 2024

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