Insurance conman banned for targeting widows

A rogue trader who conned three Anglesey women out of thousands of pounds has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Jason Edwards from Sketty, Swansea, admitted six charges of unfair trading after he was caught selling fake insurance for household goods.

One of his victims said she was left nearly £2000 out of pocket after being targeted by Edwards.

The 42 year-old was given an eight-month sentence suspended for a year and banned from being a company director for five years.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard the three ‘vulnerable residents’, aged between 68 and 92, were sold various insurance or maintenance policies for satellite systems, TVs and kitchen applicances, between January 2014 and March 2018.

Edwards, who traded as Premier Digital Services, Ltd, phoned his victims before the fake policies expired and repeatedly extended them for an extra charge.

The three victims – two of whom were recently widowed – were sold almost £4,000 in policy extensions. One victim was sold seventeen policies at a cost of over £2,500 over 32 months.

Edwards was said to have used ”aggressive commercial practices” to confuse his victims with dates, policies and payments in order to manipulate them. When he got hold of their bank details, he was able to take out regular payments without their permission.

In one case, when a victim tried to make an claim for a broken freezer, he said he ”wasn’t an engineer and couldn’t fix it”. The freezer had no such insurance cover.

In 2009, Edwards had signed legal papers at Swansea County Court, agreeing not to contravene the law protecting consumers from unfair trading regulations.

Y Byd ar Bedwar: ITV Cymru Wales for S4C

Ahead of sentencing on Tuesday, one of the victims, Ann Downs from Benllech, said she alerted Anglesey Trading Standards when she found out Edwards was taking out payments from her account.

She told S4C’s Y Byd ar Bedwar that her late husband had paid the defendant for insurance for their television. But after his death, Edwards sent a letter claiming they owed him money.

Mrs Downs said: ”He was selling some like extra insurance, covering if anything else went wrong and I was just gullible enough to accept what he said…It was, sort of, all these different deals which seemed very good, I know it sounds so silly now but at the time it was very plausible.”

The retired accountant ended up losing £2,700 over two years – including £1800 without her permission. Her family challenged Williams about the payments and he returned £720, but Mrs Downs has still yet to receive the rest of her money back.

She added: ”When I was working I would have definitely spotted it straight away. I was being a silly old lady. I was preparing making sure everything was alright.”

In court, Judge Huw Rees told Edwards he should be ”thoroughly ashamed of himself” for carrying out ”unnecessarily mean” crimes.

Edwards was sentenced to eight months for ”agressive practices” and another four months for ”misleading practices”. Both sentences, to run concurrently, were suspended for a year.

He was also banned from contacting his victims for three years and must carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

An Anglesey Council spokesperson welcomed the conviction: ”Exploiting vulnerable individuals is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We commend the bravery of the victims who assisted Trading Standards Officers to bring this man to justice.”

”If any resident has experienced problems of this nature or has concerns about the trading practices of a particular trader, they are encouraged to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 if not for their own benefit to help us to protect other vulnerable members of the community.”

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