Three men sentenced over fake home improvement scam

Brian Tutton's fraudulent firm Contemporary Home Improvements was registered at 71-75 Shelton Street 

Brian Tutton's fraudulent firm Contemporary Home Improvements was registered at 71-75 Shelton Street - Credit: Google

Three men have been sentenced over a scam that left more than 60 victims out of pocket, after they engaged a fake building company based in Camden to carry out home improvements.

A probe was launched after Action Fraud and Camden Council's trading standards team received dozens of complaints from members of the public about a firm called Contemporary Home Improvements, which used a virtual office in Shelton Street, Camden.

A complex financial investigation  revealed the defendants accepted £800,000 in deposits from people across the Home Counties in 2017 for building work they had no intention of ever carrying out.

Brian Tutton, 62, of no fixed address, registered the company and acted as its public face, and Scott Baker, 50, also of no fixed address, acted as the salesman, who carried out home visits and took people's deposits.

Meanwhile David Gogo, 30, of Barringer Square, Tooting, posed as the company architect - with a fake Royal Institute of British Architects business card - and visited clients pretending to be responsible for drafting designs.

Tutton and Baker were convicted of conspiracy to defraud at a seven week trial at Snarebrook Crown Court, which ended in November, while Gogo was convicted of one count of fraud by false representation.

They were sentenced on Friday - February 4 - when Tutton was jailed for seven years and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.

Baker was jailed for four years and disqualified from being a company director for five years, and Gogo was sentenced to 14 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 160 hours of unpaid work.
A fourth defendant, Louise Shiankwang, 50, of Grinstead Lane, Sussex, pleaded guilty earlier in the proceedings to having allowed her home to be used as a fake show home, and she will be sentenced next Monday - February 14.

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Investigating officer Det Insp Matt Wigg said: “This was a callous and calculated scheme to take money from members of the public under completely false pretences. 

“People are often embarrassed when they find they have been duped by a fraudster, but these defendants had worked hard to present themselves as a reputable, reliable and genuine building company, it would have been difficult for anyone to see beyond the fantasy they had created."