Victims of fraudsters, who targeted vulnerable older people with loft insulation spray they didn’t need, will be compensated after a partnership investigation by both the Isle of Wight Council and Hampshire and Dorset Council trading standards services.
Under the company names Energy Foam Seal Limited and Thermaroof Limited, the fraudsters deliberately cold called elderly and vulnerable residents across the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and Dorset from December 2012 to September 2014. They offered to insulate the victims’ lofts with a spray foam called Icynene. False and misleading claims were made in order to sell the unnecessary product which was unsuitable for the victims’ roof spaces.
Hampshire Trading Standards led the investigation with help from Southampton Trading Standards, Isle of Wight Trading Standards, Dorset Trading Standards, National Trading Standards and the Tri-Region Scambusters Group.
At Southampton Crown Court (7 November 2016):
- Energy Foam Seal Limited and Thermaroof Limited company director Stephen Rosen, 47, of Wokingham, was sentenced to a 2-year suspended sentence and 300 hours community service, after pleading guilty to 2 offences of participating in a fraudulent business and five offences of fraud by false representation.
- Energy Foam Seal Limited salesman Gary Holzman, 41, of Bracknell, was sentenced to an 18-month suspended sentence and 200 hours community service after pleading guilty to eight offences of engaging in misleading commercial practice.
- Energy Foam Seal Limited company director James Dellaway, 36, of Bournemouth, was sentenced to a 12-month suspended sentence and 100 hours community service after pleading guilty to one offence of engaging in an unfair commercial practice.
Rosen also had £28,554 frozen in his bank account which will be used to partially compensate 13 victims who suffered a combined loss of £58,000. A further 19 victims were identified as part of the investigation, but combined payments of £93,860 were stopped before they were made.
Isle of Wight Council Executive member for environment, fire and local engagement, Councillor Paul Fuller said:
“Helping vulnerable residents who have been targeted by fraudsters is a key focus for the council’s trading standards service. By working together with other agencies we can pool expertise and skills and as a result, this successful investigation sends out a strong message to any would be fraudsters that you will be caught and prosecuted.”
Carl Robinson, Chair of the Tri-Region Scambusters team, said:
“This is an excellent result and reinforces the value and success of collaboration between local authority Trading Standards services and regional assets such as the Scambuster teams. Criminals have no respect for local authority borders, but together, as this case shows, we can successfully prosecute such cases to protect vulnerable consumers.”
One of the victims of the fraud, Mrs Niblett, said:
“The company didn’t tell me that I had time to think about getting the work done. I may not have had it done if they were honest. He showed me pictures taken inside my loft and I believed what he said as I’m not a builder.
“This ordeal has made me feel like a bit of a sucker and I have blamed myself a bit too but he was very good at making me believe what he was saying when he was showing me the photos and video. Trading standards have been very good and kind to me as I have never had to deal with this type of thing before.”
The offences took place in Cowes, Shanklin, Newport and Sandown on the Isle of Wight; Botley, Hedge End, Dibden, Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville in Hampshire and Weymouth in Dorset.