A PROPERTY developer who fraudulently took almost £50,000 from victims of the 2015 York floods has been sentenced to 24 months in prison.
Owen Danter, 40, of 78 Munstead Way, Welton Brough, East Yorkshire, was the sole director of OTD Development Ltd before he voluntarily liquidated the company on April 20, 2017.
He was sentenced to two years in prison at York Crown Court on Tuesday, August 7 in relation to the 12 charges of consumer protection from unfair trading for which he had previously pleaded guilty on June 19, 2018.
The charges related to building work by the defendant at two neighbouring addresses in Huntington Road, York, which both suffered extensive flooding in December 2015.
Both properties had to be vacated by the owners due to the extent of the flood damage.
The court heard that in June 2016, Mr Danter was employed to carry out the required repairs at both addresses, and by agreement, some additional building work.
At both properties goods were paid for but not supplied. At one property Mr Danter issued nine invoices with a total value of £35,063.82 and to the other he issued four invoices with a total value of £14,483.
On four occasions Mr Danter requested payment be made into a different bank account, because he claimed, his bank account had been hacked. He provided alternative bank account details which were his mother’s. The bank confirmed there was no such hacking incident.
By late February 2017, the work was not finished, despite completion dates of November 2016 and December 2016 being previously given, leaving both properties uninhabitable.
In December 2016, Mr Danter disappeared for several days, claiming to have suffered exhaustion and a breakdown, but returned to work.
In February 2017, Mr Danter left the addresses for good, claiming he had suffered a complete breakdown.
At interview with Trading Standards officers, Mr Danter admitted his management of the company was poor and that he had taken on too much work and had been involved with four other neighbouring properties. He also explained he had been suffering from depression and was dependent on medication.
Cllr Nigel Ayre from City of York Council said: "Deliberately taking people’s money and not carrying out the work would have a significant impact on most people. But to knowingly inflict that on residents who were in a vulnerable situation following the 2015 floods is far worse.
"This prosecution shows we will do our utmost to protect residents from unscrupulous traders. To report poor quality work or unfair trading practices call the Consumer Helpline on 0345-4040-506.”