A GANG of conmen who were jailed after defrauding vulnerable people have been ordered to pay back hundreds and thousands of pounds.
The rogue traders targeted vulnerable and elderly victims in Chester, Ellesmere Port and Wirral who were tricked into handing over cash in return for non-existent or unnecessary building work at hugely inflated prices.
Yesterday, at Warrington Crown Court, the five members of the gang were told to pay back more than £400,000.
In November 2012 Neil Jones, 40, of Dibbons Hey, Spital, Wirral, and Kevin Sweeney, 39, of Druids Cross Road, Liverpool, admitted three counts of conspiracy to defraud worth £534,535.
Sweeney’s wife Nicola, 38, pleaded guilty to money laundering while Paul Regrette Williams, 51, of London but living in Liverpool at the time of the offences, admitted two theft offences worth £22,590.
Mark Dodd, 51, of Booker Avenue, Liverpool, denied conspiracy to defraud £445,000 but was found guilty in 2012 following a trial at Chester Crown Court.
At yesterday’s proceeds of crime hearing in Warrington the court heard how much each defendant had gained from their crimes and how much the court was able to seize to be paid back to the victims.
The Recorder Mark Ainsworth, said Kevin Sweeney had benefited by £341,962.16 through his criminal conduct and seized all of his remaining assets which totalled £153,499. He ordered the sum to be paid in 28 days or Sweeney will spend three more years in prison.
Nicola Sweeney was found to have benefited by £220,687 and her remaining assets of £145,878.71 were seized and this must be paid within 28 days or she faces three years in prison.
Mark Dodd benefited by £174,439.66 and his remaining assets of £13,750, from the sale of a VW Touareg, were seized. He must pay up within three months of face a further eight months in prison. The court also heard that prior to this latest proceeds of crime application, Dodd had paid back £64,984 to pay for his legal aid bill.
In his absence Paul Regrette Williams was found to have benefited by £22,590 and have remaining assets of £3,110. He was given six months to pay the amount or face two months in prison.
At a February hearing Neil Andrew Jones was found to have benefited by £189,589 and his remaining assets totalled £27,275.
The victims of the crimes, Dr Peter Grant, Jane Goldstone and Beatrice Price, will receive most of the assets seized as compensation, with the rest going to the Treasury.
The gang were jailed in November, 2012 after Chester Crown Court was told the five-strong gang built up relationships with each victim before defrauding or stealing from them.