Two people have been sentenced for scamming an elderly Wiltshire resident out of more than £400,000.

In June 2018, fraudsters cold-called the 81-year-old Chippenham man, claimed they were in the area cleaning gutters, and offered to carry out similar work on his home.

The pensioner agreed for this to be done, which began a months-long scam that resulted in him writing cheques totalling £406,975 to Pridenorth Limited.

The company’s 63-year-old director Keith Kenneth Ball, of Grays in Essex, has since been sentenced to 45 months in prison.

In December 2023, 35-year-old Oleksandr Romashyn from London, was found guilty of laundering £19,700 associated with this work, and he later received a 21-month prison sentence which has been suspended for two years.

At Portsmouth Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge Mr Rec Gibney told Ball, “You allowed the process over a protracted period and set up an account purely to launder money. You have ruined this gentleman’s latter years.”

After visiting the victim’s property, the men identified cracked roof tiles that needed to be repaired at a cost of £4,500.

Once the work began, they told the victim that the work would be £148,000 rather than the originally agreed price.

The elderly gentleman believed that the rogue traders would be replacing the roofing felt, some of the timbers, and every roof tile, so he agreed to this new cost and a timeframe of two weeks.

The homeowner did not receive any paperwork or notice of his 14-day right to cancel.

When the work was completed, the handymen informed the pensioner that there was damp in his loft which required further work.

Wiltshire Council’s description of these events claims that the victim felt he had no choice but to pay.

In January 2021, a man purporting to be the head of trading standards who claimed to be investigating the rogue traders visited the victim, who then went to the bank, where staff identified that he had been a victim of fraud.

A surveyor who examined the work determined that the roof did not need to be replaced but, if it did, should have cost in the region of just £4,000.

A further £756 of damage had been caused by the men removing ceilings unnecessarily. Along with the sentences given to the two criminals, the Trading Standards team is undertaking a Proceeds of Crime investigation against both males to try and obtain compensation for the victim.

Assets of £130,000 belonging to Keith Ball were identified and he has three months to pay this as compensation to the victim or will serve an additional 18 months in prison.

The court will now set a timetable to arrange for the other defendant, Romashyn, to pay compensation to the victim from his available assets.

Cllr Dominic Muns said; “Our trading standards team do all that they can to protect our residents from rogue traders and criminal attacks.

“This was a serious case of fraud, that saw a vulnerable elderly man pay out a significant sum of money.

“Whilst neither Mr Ball or Mr Romashyn had actually carried out the works themselves, the payments had been made into their bank accounts which they had then withdrawn as large cash payments.

“Money laundering is not a victimless crime, and as this case shows, anyone who allows their own bank accounts to be used to transfer criminal money, can themselves end up with a criminal record.

“Neither man has provided any information which could help identify the rogue traders. The work carried out was not only unnecessary but has been executed poorly and not to the standard a consumer would expect of a skilled tradesman.

“If anyone believes they might be caught up in money laundering, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”