Hebburn man to stand trial over £40,000 fraud and unfair trading allegations relating to building and roofing company

Two people accused of a £40,000 fraud and unfair trading could face trial in January 2024 after making their first appearance at crown court.

Joseph Conley, 46, and Jill Mackin, 41, and a building and roofing company previously pleaded not guilty to all charges at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

They have now appeared at Teesside Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

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No pleas were entered at the hearing on Tuesday, December 20. Judge Jonathan Carroll adjourned the case until a further hearing on March 29, 2023, with a potential trial date of January 8, 2024.

Teesside Crown Court.

Conley, of Gerard Close, New Kyo, Stanley, and Mackin, of Douglas Close, Hebburn, were given unconditional bail in the meantime.

Under the charges brought to the magistrates’ court, they are accused of a fraud to the value of £41,405, as well as misleading and aggressive practices as a trader. The alleged behaviour includes failing to complete a loft conversion in Billingham and demanding payment using “harassment, coercion or undue influence”.

They and the firm itself, JPC Building Roofing and Joinery, faced the same 12 charges – five of fraud, seven under unfair trading regulations, allegations dating back to between May and October 2021.

Conley, Mackin and the company denied all charges brought by Stockton Council when they appeared before magistrates in November.

The fraud charges alleged the defendants “dishonestly made a false representation” to a couple that work worth £41,405 would be done and invoiced for work they had not done.

It was also claimed they told Stockton trading standards that £75 was chargeable for JMC Project Management Consultancy for attending a property in Billingham.

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They were accused of engaging in commercial practices against the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These included stating to the couple that works worth £41,405 would be done, said to be a misleading and untruthful action, and failing to tell the couple of their cancellation rights, a “misleading omission”.

The charges also included “failing to adequately undertake work” at the couple’s home, sending them an invoice stating payment was overdue having not provided the invoice beforehand, and “failing to complete works to the loft conversion” at a Billingham property. These “contravened the requirements of professional diligence”, it was claimed.

Aggressive practices “through the use of harassment, coercion or undue influence”, likely to impair a customer’s freedom of choice, were alleged.

The defendants were accused of demanding a change to a payment schedule, “threatening to walk off the build if the terms were not agreed to” and demanding payment for an invoice marked overdue.

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Conley and Mackin are listed on Companies House’s website as people with significant control owning shares in the company, with Conley listed as a director.