A DOUBLE glazing company named Green, which advertised extensively in North Wales, misled customers into believing that grants were available for their UPVC windows and doors.
It also falsely claimed they were selling grade A or Pilkington’s glass.
A number of elderly and disabled people believed that they were entitled to the grant aid - but the grants did not exist, Mold Crown Court was told yesterday (Wednesday).
The total loss to customers was in the region of £50,000.
Susan Greer, 54 , was said primarily to operate the company with the assistance of her husband Terence Greer, 76.
The couple, of Norman Street in Birkenhead, received a two year prison sentence suspended for two years. Mrs Greer was ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.
A third man, Gary Parle,45, of Woodfield Road, Huyton, who supplied the windows through his legitimate business which employs 14 people in Liverpool, was ordered to pay £30,000 compensation - along with £10,000 costs - as a penalty.
All admitted a fraudulent trading charge.
Judge Niclas Parry said the Greers deliberately defrauded consumers in “a pre-meditated scam”.
They deliberately created the false impression that grant aid would be available.
“That was a lie,” he said.
They also claimed that quality glass was being used which was registered with safety authorities.
“That was untrue,” he said.
Some customers were elderly and disabled.
“You gave the impression that you were helping them.
“In fact, what you were doing was taking advantage of their vulnerabilities,” he said.
It was sophisticated, false documents and leaflets had been produced and there was clearly significant planning.
“In some cases, people were targeted and pressured because they were vulnerable,” he said.
Both were hard working people of good character and he took into account Mr Greer’s ill-health.
He said that he accepted that Parle became involved initially because he desperate to recover a significant debt owed to him by the Greers.
But he had benefited financially as he provided the windows and doors.
When he became aware of what was going on, “he closed his eyes” to it, said Judge
“You stepped beyond the bounds of honesty.”
Barrister Leigh Reynolds, prosecuting for Denbighshire County Council, said that the Green company advertised extensively in the North Wales area until they were stopped in 2013 following intervention by the county council.
Customers from the Rhyl and Rhuddlan area were deliberately misled into believing that Government or EU grants were available.
They were told they would receive top quality glass and it was registered with FENSA and complied with quality and safety standards.
But the 14 complainants did not receive the windows they believed they would be getting, some felt conned and would not have gone to the company if they had known the truth.
Cheques made out to the Green company were changed to Greer which enabled Susan Greer to pay them into her account.
The offending went on from 2010 to 2013 .
It was accepted that the financial position of the Greers was now “very poor” and they did not live a lavish life-style.
Mrs Greer was said to be genuinely remorseful and deeply regretted what had happened.
There had been tragic events in her life, the court heard.
Terence Greer was said to be suffering ill-health and in need of care from his wife.
Parle was said to have got involved because he was owed money by the Greers and had provided windows and doors – but there had been many satisfied customers.
He employed 14 people in his own legitimate company