Window fitter Ajay Rattu who with Paul John Blower ran Nuneaton based Coldsealed Windows, has been sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment for fraudulent trading. Paul John Blower was sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and given a three-month weekend curfew.
In his sentencing remarks, HH Judge Potter stated that Rattu and Blower had undertaken a particularly cynical piece of offending. He said that they did not feel remorse but dismay at being caught and had neither the guts nor courage to face up to what they had done.
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards investigated and subsequently prosecuted the pair after receiving complaints from consumers.
Mr Blower and Mr Rattu cold called Warwickshire residents offering new or replacement windows, patio doors or other building work. They took large deposits, sometimes several thousand pounds, after which little or no work was done. When consumers asked for their deposits back no refunds were paid. Ten victims lost approximately £14,000 in total.
One victim agreed to pay Mr Blower £3000 to carry out alterations to her bathroom to accommodate her disabled son. She made an initial payment of £500 but Mr Blower never started the work.
Another victim agreed to employ Mr Rattu and Mr Blower to carry out a £25,000 extension to his home and paid them £5000 up front for a roof. However, no roof was ever supplied. The pair later asked for another £2500 before work could start. The money was paid, and a small amount of work was carried out in the victim’s garden, but this quickly tailed off.
Deposits that clients believed was being paid to Coldsealed Windows was actually paid into Mr Rattu’s personal account or into the account of another company Mr Blower was a director of.
At an earlier hearing held at Warwick Crown Court (Leamington Spa) on 4th November 2019, Ajay Rattu (age 40 of Sanders Road Coventry CV6 6DH) and Paul John Blower (age 57 of Bradford Street Birmingham B12 0ND) pleaded guilty to one offence of fraudulent trading under section 9(1) of the Fraud Act 2006.
At Warwick Crown Court (Leamington Spa) on Thursday 24th January 2020 Ajay Rattu was sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment. Paul John Blower was sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and given a three-month weekend curfew. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1400 and a victim surcharge.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:
“These individuals took large amounts of money from their victims, some of whom were elderly and vulnerable, and delivered little or nothing in return. I’m delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards have taken this action to protect the consumers of Warwickshire.”
Warwickshire residents wishing to make a complaint about a trader can do so by contacting Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Consumer Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
In mitigation, it was stated in court that the defendants had begun the business as a legitimate concern, but things had quickly unravelled and that they were both deeply ashamed for their actions and had pleaded guilty.
Warwickshire Trading Standards began their investigation in 2016. Victims were repaid in October 2019 and the court ordered Mr Blower to make a payment of £620 compensation to a further victim who had come to light during the investigation.
More information about trading Standards can be found on the website: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards