Former roofing company boss jailed after charging Holywell woman £ 40,000 for substandard work
A FORMER boss of a roofing company has been jailed after admitting to billing a client tens of thousands of pounds when he shouldn’t have.
Richard Whelan, of Aragon Green in Blacon, appeared at Mold Crown Court on Friday afternoon.
The 40-year-old had previously admitted 11 regulatory infractions regarding roofing work he took on for a Holywell resident named Julie Hughes in 2019.
Laura Shepherd, a prosecutor for the Flintshire Council, told the court that initially Whelan, who at the time was director of RPW Roofing Services Limited, quoted the complainant for £ 14,000 to redo the roof of her bungalow and £ 3,500 additional to cover an extension that was to be built by someone else.
Throughout his work, he won the complainant’s trust and told her that he would ensure that she was not taken advantage of.
But as the work continued, he told her on several occasions that he incurred additional costs and that various other things would need to be completed or installed on the property – inflating the price.
Between August and November 2019, the complainant handed him over £ 40,000 in bank transfers and cash.
The more she paid, the more she worried, the court said.
When she finally refused to pay any more money, he stopped picking up the phone.
The work was then examined and found to be substandard, and the roof was “left in an unsafe condition” with loose tiles, ill-fitting windows and leaks.
He even asked her £ 4,000 to remove asbestos, but when the roof was examined later it was found to contain no asbestos.
Whelan also charged Ms Hughes £ 4,000 for ‘bat and rat grates’ she did not need and overcharged her for tiles he had already purchased – which police confirmed by checking his bills.
When interviewed in September of last year, Whelan accepted “most” of what he was told. but said he couldn’t remember some details.
He said he was ready to pay her back and fix everything – but the court has heard so far that he hasn’t paid back a dime.
In a victim impact statement read to court, Ms Hughes said the offenses made her physically ill, calling Whelan “devious.”
“The injustice of it was heartbreaking,” she said.
“I was helpless.”
Defense Myles Wilson said: “Mr. Whelan gained experience as a roofer working with other roofers and made the disastrous decision to start his own business, RPW Roofing.
“He made quite a mess. He used men to do the work and struggled to find money to pay their wages.
“He has now stopped working as a roofer and has returned to working as a laborer.” He felt lost and ashamed of the way he behaved towards Ms. Hughes.
“He clearly benefited.
Asked by Judge David Hale about the possibility of the complainant getting her money back, Mr Wilson said: “He just can’t afford to do it – he doesn’t have a bank account with cash. .
“It’s unfortunate for everyone involved.”
Judge Hale told Whelan: “You went to this job and used it like a cash cow. Obviously, some things change on contact, but it was extreme. “You promised her so much, and when you couldn’t take it anymore, you didn’t answer the phone.
“You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Judge Hale sentenced him to a total of 18 months in jail and disqualified him as a business manager for five years.
Whelan must also pay a victim fine surcharge of £ 149 within three months of his release.