Man found guilty of money laundering following Oxford roofing scam
A self-employed scaffolder has been found guilty of three money laundering offences at Oxford Crown Court today, 25 January 2023, after a trial lasting three days. The jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict on all three counts after deliberating for one hour and 39 minutes.
The court action followed an investigation by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team.
Douglas Alfie Dawson (25) – from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire – was found guilty of handling £75,000 on behalf of criminals engaged in a roofing scam at the home of a couple from Oxford. The roofing work, which the money was meant to pay for, was so badly done that an expert valued it at just £1,081. It did not even fix the leak that had caused the victims to seek the work being done in the first place.
Over a period of four weeks, Mr Dawson received £75,000 directly into his bank account, which he then withdrew in cash to pass to criminals behind the scam. On 12 February 2020 alone, he withdrew £28,000 in cash from his account and, when questioned, gave no explanation why he had withdrawn more than twice his declared annual salary in cash in a single day.
The scammers preyed on their victims’ concerns about a leak at their property to justify the need for work starting and payments being made immediately. They also used false names throughout; failed to issue invoices or other paperwork; and arranged for all the payments to be laundered through Mr Dawson’s account to prevent them being traced.
Councillor Jenny Hannaby, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Safety, said: “Mr Dawson’s deplorable actions were chiefly intended to try and prevent the criminals behind this scam being brought to justice. He has shown no remorse to the victims of their crimes or for the part he played in defrauding them of a very substantial sum of money.
“We hope that today’s verdict deters other people from entering similar arrangements to handle criminal’s cash. The punishments can include bank accounts used for illegal activity being closed and a block placed on opening new ones.”
Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “We advise anybody who is looking for a reliable trader to always get a number of detailed quotes, check with friends and family for trusted recommendations and consider a trading standards’ approved trader, from our Buy with Confidence scheme.
"We also advise customers to be cautious when making stage payments for large scale building projects. They should ensure that the trader has provided a clear breakdown of what the money pays for at each stage, that the costs of materials and labour involved are provided, and that they do not make further payments until the work included in earlier stages has been completed.
“We would also like to thank Hertfordshire Police for its assistance during this investigation.”
Mr Dawson is due back at Oxford Crown Court for sentencing on 13 March 2023.
Any Oxfordshire resident that has concerns about activity of this nature should report it to trading standards using the national consumer helpline 0808 223 1133.
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