Three traders found guilty in 2012 of unfairly selling burglar alarms to residents have this month been ordered to pay £1m under a confiscation order and a further £400,000 in legal costs, following a case brought by a London council.
The three men – David Diaz, Ludovik Black and Gary McVey – were also jailed after pleading guilty at Norwich Crown Court to contempt of court. The trio had failed to comply with a restraint order.
The men owned SAS Fire and Security Systems Ltd and were convicted in 2012. According to Hillingdon, they would “cold-call potential buyers and persuade them to allow an employee to visit and offer an alarm for free, or £1”.
However, during the employee’s visit it would transpire that to get the ‘free’ alarm it was necessary to spend thousands on a monitoring contract.
Diaz, Black and McVey were each sentenced at the time to a community order for 12 months, requiring them to undertake 150 hours of community work. The three men were disqualified from acting as a company for 12 months.
Hillingdon secured an order freezing the men’s assets after they were convicted. The council subsequently discovered that the three defendants had “made payments to family accounts in order to hide some of the money they had illegally gained”.
Judge Holt jailed Diaz and Black for four-and-a-half months, while McVey was sentenced to two months in prison.
The £1m confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act will be divided between the council, HM Treasury and the Courts and Tribunals Service.
Hillingdon Council Leader, Cllr Ray Puddifoot, said: "This has been a complicated and drawn out case but our officers have worked very hard to make sure we got the right result.
“These men preyed on vulnerable residents and lined their pockets with the cash from their scams. We were not prepared to sit back and let them live the high life at the expense of our residents and I am very pleased with this result."
See also: Confiscation orders and local authorities - resolving a tension by Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC and Richard Heller, both of whom appeared for Hillingdon in the SAS case.