The boss of a Swansea call centre, who was already serving a suspended sentence for a cold call scam, has been jailed after being found guilty of conning consumers out of tens of thousands of pounds in an energy bill fraud.
During the trial, Swansea Crown Court heard how Clive Robert Davies from Bridgend had been sentenced to 24 weeks in prison suspended for 24 months and disqualified from being a company director in April last year for similar activities involving a company called Residential Redress.
But days after being convicted, he set up another cold calling operation – Green Streak Energy – which sold home energy audits that the firm claimed would enable people to save money on their utility bills.
Swansea Council’s trading standards department began investigating Green Streak Energy after complaints from customers.
Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, said the firm was selling energy performance certificates – which typically cost homeowners around £50 – for £298.99, on the premise that the firm could then access grants for boilers and cavity wall insulation, as well as getting reductions on energy bills.
The court heard that following a visit from trading standards officers, Davies hurriedly ran £102,400 in refunds through his system – but did not have sufficient funds.
Davies had previously pleaded guilty to four offences under the Companies Act and to running a business while disqualified from doing so when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.
Judge Paul Thomas QC – the same judge who sentenced Davies last year – told the defendant he was “as dishonest an individual as I have ever met”.
He said that within weeks of leaving the court last year with a suspended sentence and ban he was back in business, a course of action the judge described as a “breathtakingly audacious disregard for the court order”.
For each of the four fraudulent trading offences Davies was sentenced to three years in prison, for breaking the ban on being a company director to 12 months, and for the breach of the suspended sentence to two months, all the sentences to run concurrently, making a total of three years.
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