Convicted fraudster Thomas Mounsey had assets of more than £500,000 confiscated when he appeared today (20 December) at Teesside Crown Court for an asset confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
This following his conviction in December 2018 for conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
Mounsey, 58, who has addresses in the Stockton, Darlington and Bishop Auckland areas, was convicted, together with three other men, after a trial at Teesside Crown Court for conspiring to defraud residents and businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber and North East areas when undertaking tarmac works at their premises. This followed an investigation and prosecution by the multi-agency Operation Gauntlet team, hosted at our Trading Standards. The confiscation investigation was conducted by the North East Regional Economic Crime Unit (NERECU).
The men claimed they were working for the Highways Agency or local councils on legitimate road repairs taking place nearby. They also claimed they had material left over from the legitimate works, and offered to tarmac driveways and parking areas at a low price.
Thinking they were getting a good deal and were contracting with legitimate traders, the residents agreed to engage the men. However, work was carried out to areas which were not agreed to and, when jobs were completed, the men demanded significantly higher prices. In most cases, the prices were inflated tenfold.
The victims included a resident from the Whitby area, who agreed to work to his farm track. Based on the price he was quoted, he calculated the final bill would be around £2,300. On completion of the works, he was presented with an invoice for more than £23,000. When he queried the price and refused to pay, he was bombarded with phone calls by Thomas Mounsey and another defendant, leaving him fearful and intimidated.
Evidence showed the men had no connection to any of the authorities they had associated themselves with and that, in fact, they were buying tarmac to order when they had secured a contract after cold calling residents.
All four men were sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment each in December 2018.
At the confiscation hearing this morning, it was found Mounsey had benefitted from his criminal behaviour by £1,044,978.96. It was also found he had assets valued at £516,769.08, which will now be confiscated to satisfy the order. Should he fail to pay, he will face an additional five years imprisonment in default.
The majority of the victims have already received full compensation for their losses, following a confiscation order against Mounsey’s co-defendant, Shaun Thomas Jr, of Holme Lea traveller’s site, Elvington, York, in September 2020.
The remaining two defendants face confiscation proceedings in April 2022.
Speaking after the order, County Councillor Derek Bastiman, Executive Member for Trading Standards, said: “Our trading standards service is committed to protecting our communities, both vulnerable residents and small businesses, from those who seek to prey upon them to defraud them. This includes working with partners, such as the NERECU, to confiscate offender’s assets and secure compensation for those who are defrauded. We are delighted with this result, and grateful to the NERECU for their assistance, and hope it sends a clear message to those who consider coming to North Yorkshire to offend in this way.”
Ramona Senior, Head of the North East Regional Economic Crime Unit, added: “The order made against Mounsey today is a result of him being convicted for preying on vulnerable members of our community defrauding them without care for the consequences and motivated by financial gain. As a result of today's order, the consequences for him are quite clear. The significant order awarded represents his overall criminal benefit and is a result of a partnership approach between North Yorkshire Trading Standards and the North East Regional Economic Crime Unit to bring this offender to justice and deprive him of his proceeds of crime.”