A builder who told a ‘string of lies’ after failing to complete contracts worth more than £1 million has been jailed.
Carl Shrubshall, 46, of Cavendish Close, Thurston, fended off customers with false claims that he was having to undergo hospital treatment for cancer while in fact he had been enjoying a luxury holiday in Florida.
On Friday at Ipswich Crown Court, Shrubshall who had been the sole director and owner of Beckwill Builders Ltd, was sentenced to a total of 45 months imprisonment.
Shrubshall pleaded guilty to 18 offences of fraud committed between April 2010 and January 2013.
Prosecuting, Christopher Kerr said Shrubshall ran his business with ‘a series of lies and dishonest practices with a view to manipulating his contracts to his advantage and maximising the amount of money he could get’.
Customers who were contacted by Shrubshall signed up to have new houses built but found that the projects were never finished, despite substantial payments having been made to him.
One customer was told he had a 22-strong workforce when in fact the figure was six, said Mr Kerr.
Other projects which Shrubshall started but then failed to finish had been in Whittlesford and Bottisham.
Mr Kerr said that Shrubshall also forged quotations for the installation of gas, water and electricity services to greatly inflate what appeared to be the cost.
Shrubshall offered to obtain a Local Authority Building Control warranty for some customers but despite being paid he failed to deliver.
The court heard that building contracts taken on by Shrubshall were worth just over £1 million and that even taking into acount the work that was completed, customers were still £298,368 out of pocket. Mr Kerr said that one customer who was given Shrubshall’s partner’s name as a reference was told by her that the house he built for her was ‘fabulous’ and she planned to have another constructed by him.
Copies of a customer’s emails, apparently praising the work done and sent to a couple in Marlow had been doctored to remove critical remarks, the court heard.
Stephen Dyble, in mitigation, said that Shrubshall was very remorseful and had taken on some of the contracts with good intentions, although he conceded that customers had been badly let down.
Jailing him, Judge John Devaux told Shrubshall that his dishonesty had impacted on innocent victims and had been perpetrated over a lengthy period.