THE conviction of fraudster Simon Regan represents one of the biggest Trading Standards prosecutions ever brought by the Isle of Wight Council.
The rogue trader, of Bradfield Road, Barrows Green, Crewe, appeared before a judge at Southampton Crown Court yesterday (Thursday).
He was jailed for three years and banned from being a company director for six.
The 58-year-old was in the business of laying resin drives and pathways, and charged residents and businesses across three counties many thousands of pounds for work which in many cases was not up to scratch.
People trying to get faults put right were met with repeated false promises — he would simply lie to customers, make countless excuses and evade his responsibilities.
James Potter, the council's Trading Standards manager, said: "This was a long and complex investigation with many lines of enquiry we had to follow.
"Some of the things Simon Regan said and excuses he made to his customers were bullying and simply staggering.
“We’re pleased the court has found him guilty of his offending."
During the trial, the court heard evidence from 65 witnesses from the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and Devon, where Regan’s companies had committed offences.
The collective fraud of these contracts was valued at around £300,000.
His offending included gross overcharging, works that were poorly or incompetently installed, ten year guarantees that were worthless or had little value, remedial works that were only partially undertaken or not undertaken at all, and the non-return of deposits paid when cancellation rights had been exercised.
Witnesses told the court Regan would make threats to rip up the driveways if he didn’t receive payment in full and when civil action was attempted in the county court, he would threaten consumers again.
During the case, the jury heard how Regan would simply ‘fob off’ his customers and lied to Trading Standards during the investigation.
There were significant sums of money being turned over through his companies which was not reflected in his company accounts, and he had spent a substantial amount of money on his gambling habit.
A timetable has been set for confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, with a hearing fixed for August 4.