News item

Prolific Notts conman sentenced

A Nottinghamshire conman who took £1,000s from the elderly for selling mobility aids at an inflated price which were often never delivered has been sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on 22 April. 

John Cooney, 39 of Water Lane, Radcliffe-on-Trent, has pleaded guilty to ten offences of fraud. 

He has also been ordered to pay £7,776.42 in compensation to victims or their beneficiaries.  

The case involved at least 12 victims who ranged in age from 69 to 99 years of age from across the UK and the total amount of money obtained from the victims is in excess of £24,000 dating from September 2010. 

The complaints ranged from goods that had been paid for which were undelivered, faulty or not as described on the sales invoice, and the losses ranged from £171 to £2,400. 

No refunds were given and if cheques were issued in refund they were not honoured. 

The East Midlands Scambusters Team – a regional unit set up by the National Trading Standards Board which deals with large cases of fraud, high pressure selling and deceptive practices – worked alongside Trading Standards officers from Nottinghamshire County Council on the case. 

Cooney often acted as a salesman and mis-sold mattresses, sofas, stair lifts and mobility scooters under the guise of UK Mobility Plus (Nottingham) – which he worked with Carl Mould on during 2010 – and Simplify Leicester Limited which Cooney started in December 2010. 

The scambusters team is aware of a larger number of complaints made against Simplify Leicester from people across England and Wales and these involve losses in excess of £75,000. 

Some complainants were told Simplify Leicester were working on behalf of social services and felt that they were pressured into making a purchase from Cooney. 

He admitted in his interview with Scambusters officers that Simplify Leicester had a £482,000 turnover over a one-year period. 

Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Safety Committee, said: “Mr Cooney has had many chances in the past to take a different path and avoid a life of crime but each time he has reverted back to ripping off elderly people. 

“Many of his victims had little money to spare so they could least afford the financial loss from this heartless scam. 

“The impact of his crimes on his victims does not just involve substantial financial loss – many have been greatly traumatised by the experience. 

"We will continue to pursue individuals who cause harm and distress to vulnerable people through these kind of scams.” 

Cooney was previously sentenced to six months in prison in November 2012 for committing Contempt of Court for breaching a court order under the Enterprise Act by continuing to mis-sell mobility aids and was released in February 2013. 

ENDS

For further information Peter Saunders in Communications and Marketing at Nottinghamshire County Council on 0115 977 3379. 
 
DATE: 22 April 2014