Suffolk Trading Standards exposes cowboy builder after investigation
A rogue builder, who conned customers out of thousands of pounds for contracts he never completed, has been convicted of fraud.
Alan Middleton, 45, of Merlin Close in Rugby, pleaded guilty to multiple offences at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, after an investigation by Suffolk Trading Standards revealed he had received almost £600,000 through unscrupulous means.
While living in Suffolk, Middleton operated under numerous guises, such as GK Builders, G & K Builders, Middleton Building Services, AGM Custom Construction and AGM Bespoke Construction Ltd.
However, customers began to complain that building work which they had paid for was never completed.
Investigators uncovered that he used fraudulent tactics to extract money from customers, including falsifying supplier invoices and using a fake VAT number, with one victim asked to pay £25,000 in VAT alone.
In addition, Middleton also failed to disclose to customers that he had declared himself bankrupt.
In court, Middleton admitted four charges of fraud by false representation, and one of theft.
At a previous hearing, he and his wife, Katie Middleton, 34, of the same address, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulently obtaining a mortgage worth £400,000. Both will return to court for sentencing on July 14.
Graham Crisp, head of Suffolk Trading Standards, said: “Sadly, we have spoken to several consumers who were taken advantage of by Middleton, with many using their life savings or taking out loans to pay for the work in an attempt to achieve their dream home.
“Middleton’s greed saw him do whatever he could to extract money from his victims, including falsifying invoices to claim £170,000 in VAT, despite not being registered.
“He also forged insurance documents to mislead people into thinking their properties were protected, and endangered lives by incorrectly stating that building control was not required for projects when this was, in fact, needed.”