Fraudsters banged up in Bristol so far this year

Fraud is a particularly low crime, whatever is taken. People’s savings can be wiped out and businesses can be decimated.

Here we take a look at the rip-off merchants whose cases we covered at Bristol Crown Court between January and June, 2022, who were jailed for fraud. Bristol Live reports from the city’s courts every week.

Some of the key benefits of open justice include ensuring public confidence and respect in democracy and the administration of justice. It also serves to deter people from committing crimes and thereby the details of those crimes becoming public knowledge. You can read more about why we publish defendants’ names and addresses here.

READ MORE: Jailed in Bristol in August 2022

The length of their sentences ranged from 18 months to 10 years. Ages and addresses reported below were correct at the time of sentencing.

Alexandru Ciuciulete, two years

Alexandru Ciuciulete

A Fishponds man’s strategy to beat the fuel crisis backfired. After managing to steal £56,000 worth he ended up in jail.

Alexandru Ciuciulete worked as a delivery driver for Bristol-based Arthur David food distribution company as well as food supplier Apetito. Bristol Crown Court heard that it emerged he acquired fuel cards from the businesses and used them to fraudulently fill up containers of fuel.

Ciuciulete, 28, of Ridgeway Road, pleaded guilty to fraud. He appeared at Bristol Crown Court for sentence on August 9, 2022.

Judge James Patrick jailed him for two years. He told Ciuciulete: “There was very significant dishonesty over a long period of time, against not one but two employers. The public would be affronted if I did anything other than to send you immediately to prison.”

Read the full story here

Jamie Smith, three years and three months

A roofer who ripped off more than a dozen people with work that made their issues worse was jailed. Jamie Smith admitted defrauding 15 householders in the South West to the tune of £117, 740, Bristol Crown Court heard.

The court was told he sometimes caused damage to roofs himself. And on one occasion, when told he wouldn’t be paid, he threatened to smash tiles he had fixed.

Smith, 36, of Kerrow Lane, Stenalees in St Austell, Cornwall, pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading between January 2018 and August 2020. Judge James Patrick jailed him for three years and three months.

Read the full story here

Craig Graydon, 18 months

An alcoholic rogue builder ripped off clients around Bath and Bristol to the tune of just over £15,000, a court heard. Craig Graydon purported to be qualified in construction, Bristol Crown Court was told.

Time and time again customers contacted him, he took deposit payments for architectural drawings, work and materials, but the work was never done. And when customers complained, refunds were not made.

Graydon, 50, of Stothert Avenue in Bath, pleaded guilty to: Fraud by false representation 02.08.2020 and 04.12.2020; Carrying on the business of a company with intent to defraud creditors/ for other fraudulent purpose between 16.03.2021 and 29.05.2021; Trader knowingly, recklessly engaging in a commercial practice between 16.03.2021 and 29.05.2021.

Judge Mark Horton jailed him for 18 months and disqualified him from being a company director for ten years.

Read the full story here

Michael Coffey, two years and two months; Richard Coffey, 18 months

L-R Michael and Richard Coffey

Rogue traders who ripped off vulnerable and elderly people in and around Bristol have been jailed. Brothers Michael and Richard Coffey were directors of MRC Roofing and Building Ltd, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Between them they scammed some £44,600 from customers for poor quality roofing work which needed more money to put right. Michael Coffey, 29, and Richard Coffey, 25, both of Northwood Park, Old Gloucester Road, Winterbourne, both pleaded guilty to participating in a fraudulent business.

The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair QC jailed Michael for two years and two months and Richard for 18 months. The judge said: “There was detrimental impact on the victims, financially and otherwise.

Read the full story here

Alabi Adewale, 39 months

A former headteacher who admitted fraud totalling some £330,000 has been jailed. Alabi Adewale, 59, of Cranmore Crescent, Southmead, appeared before Bristol Crown Court for sentence in March.

He pleaded guilty to converting criminal property, by money transfer, totalling £332,015.58 between October 2019 and April 2020. His wife Shade Adewale, 51, of the same address, pleaded guilty to converting criminal property, by money transfer, totalling £114,945.95 between December 17, 2019 and January 4, 2020.

Judge William Hart jailed Alabi Adewale for 39 months and handed his wife an 18 months jail term, suspended for two years, with 100 hours’ unpaid work. The judge told Mr Adewale: “You were clearly the prime mover and you drew your wife into it.” A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to claw-back ill-gotten gains, was set for September.

Read the full story here

John Ward, two years

A banned “cowboy builder” used false names to dishonestly secure work. John Ward was prohibited from trading under a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).

Bristol Crown Court heard that, after he registered under a false name on the Rated People website, people engaged him for jobs and he charged high prices for shoddy work. Ward, 35, of Moorland Road in Burnley, pleaded guilty to engaging in activity in breach of the CBO as well as fraud.

Judge Michael Longman jailed him for two years. He told Ward: “Cowboy builders and rogue traders like you are a menace. You leech on decent members of the public, fleecing them of their money, sometimes their savings, leaving them in need of further expenditure for repair work.”

Read the full story here

Michael Black, 10 years and nine months

Michael Black has been jailed for 10 years and nine months for fraud
Michael Black has been jailed for 10 years and nine months for fraud
(Image: Avon & Somerset Police)

A man who worked as a company head of finance was jailed for 10 years after admitting to stealing more than £1million from his employers to fund a lavish lifestyle, including expensive cars and holidays abroad.

Michael Black, 56, fraudulently pocketed around £1.2million from three businesses he worked for between 2010 and 2019. On Friday, April 22, he was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court to 10 years and nine months in prison, also receiving a 12-year company director disqualification.

Black had been trusted with company finances at three different businesses and on more than 400 occasions abused his position to transfer money from their accounts to his own. He disguised the transfers so they didn’t appear to go directly to him.

Read the full story here

Daniel Denison, 43 months

A tradesman was handed a 43-month custodial sentence at Bristol Crown Court in April after pleading guilty to running a fraudulent business.

Daniel Denison, 60, of Kingsteignton, Devon, was paid significant amounts of money by homeowners for building work which he either failed to complete or never even started, between October 1, 2016 and April 30, 2018. He took substantial deposits from his customers but delivered the building works to a poor standard.

He also failed to apply for planning permission when required, requested additional payments for so-called ‘extras’ or left jobs unfinished. Completion deadlines for building work were missed and calls from those customers he had taken money from were repeatedly ignored.

Read the full story here

Gareth Barrett, 21 months

Gareth Barrett

Backwell man Gareth Barrett stole the identity of a former Army officer with the same name as him to commit fraud. And it proved a “deeply disturbing” ordeal for his victim, a court heard.

Barrett, 40, of Moorfield Road, pleaded guilty to five charges of fraud as well as making an untrue statement for the purposes of obtaining a passport and insurance. He also admitted possessing an identity document with improper intent.

Judge Euan Ambrose jailed him for 21 months. He made a deprivation order involving identity documents and all documents seized relating to the complainant Gareth Edward Barrett. A victim surcharge of £140 was imposed.

Read the full story here

Jayne Dodd, three years and 10 months

Jayne Dodd

In 2017 Jayne Dodd walked out of Bristol Crown Court after defrauding her elderly step-father of £63,000. As she left to start a suspended jail term she told the Bristol Post: “I’m glad it’s all over.”

What the sentencing judge didn’t know then was, for the previous 13 years, she had stolen more than £500,000 from her brother. And when she returned to the same court on May 27, 2022, this time she didn’t walk out.

Dodd, 61, of Wynter Close in Weston-super-Mare, pleaded guilty to theft from Stephen Cox between December 2004 and February 2017. The recorder Mr Andrew Langdon QC jailed her for three years and 10 months.

Read the full story here

Gang of scammers, 20 years and eight months

Top left Shoriful Islam, top right Muhammed Rahman, bottom left Mohammed Hussain and bottom right, Mohammed Maarjan
Top left Shoriful Islam, top right Muhammed Rahman, bottom left Mohammed Hussain and bottom right, Mohammed Maarjan
(Image: Glos Police)

Four members of a gang who preyed on dozens of elderly victims, conning them out of hundreds of thousands of pounds, were jailed for a total of 20 years and eight months.

Mohammed Rahman, Muhammed Maarjan, Muhammed Hussain and Shoriful Islam were handed the sentences when they appeared at Bristol Crown Court in June. The four had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to conspiring to commit fraud by false representation. Rahman, Maarjan and Islam had also admitted possessing criminal property.

Before their arrest in April last year, the gang had contacted hundreds of potential victims across the country by telephone, targeting a region for a number of days before moving on to the next. Once they had found a victim, the offenders, pretending to be police officers, patiently relayed a convincingly disturbing tale of a fraud investigation that had identified counterfeit currency being transferred into their bank accounts.

Read the full story here

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