Jailed North Benfleet Brothers Ordered To Pay Back £229k

20 June 2017, 09:34 | Updated: 20 June 2017, 09:40

Mark and John Cooper

Two brothers from North Benfleet jailed for defrauding people by cold calling and grossly overcharging them for unnecessary work to their homes have been ordered to pay back over £229,000.

A judge ordered at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, June 16, that a total of £229,100 would be confiscated from John Cooper, 20, and Mark Cooper, 31, both of Harrow Road, north Benfleet, through the Proceeds of Crime Act.

John Cooper will have to pay back £189,050 and Mark Cooper will have to forfeit £40,050, with £154,700 being paid out in compensation to their victims.

The brothers were jailed for two years at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday, January 12.

Mark Cooper pleaded guilty to seven counts of money laundering while John Cooper admitted 12 counts of money laundering. They were also made subject of Serious Crime Prevention Orders (SCPO) lasting five years.

Any breach of the order is a criminal offence and punishable by up to five years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

The court heard how they used different company names before cold calling their vulnerable victims and insisting that work was required to their homes, driveways and front gardens.

They carried out their rogue trading operations across Essex and East London – including Basildon, Billericay, Brightlingsea, Colchester, Hutton, Leigh and Westcliff - between 2011 and 2014.

The pair defrauded 12 people out of tens of thousands by telling people that their homes were structurally unsafe and if not fixed could pose a risk to members of the community.

Senior Investigating officer DI Lee Morton said: "The Cooper brothers conned vulnerable people out of thousands of pounds and in some cases, their life savings. This result means their victims will be compensated for any over charge on the work completed to their homes. 

"We have worked tirelessly to bring the Cooper brothers to justice and to recover the money they conned out of their victims and this result shows the lengths we will go to get justice for the victims who suffered at the hands of two cold-hearted men who preyed on the vulnerable and elderly. I hope this recent outcome will bring them some closure."

For more advice about rogue trading visit https://www.essex.police.uk/advice/rogue-traders/