Fraudster Sam Routh admits role in £42k con exposed by Rogue Traders TV show
A FORMER Tetney man – who was exposed on national TV show Rogue Traders while working for a firm which exploited the elderly and vulnerable – has admitted to his role in a £42,515 con.
Former Tollbar student Sam Routh, 26, pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud, committed while working for mobility aids provider ABM Mobility, which later changed its name, first to Virgo and then to Lifestyle.
The firm's owners, Amarjit and Ranjit Gill, of Nottingham, pleaded guilty to 25 counts of fraud – each relating to a customer complaint the firm had either refused to honour refunds or that they had paid for products that never arrived.
Derby Crown Court heard that fellow staff member David Messom, 27, of Nottingham, who, like Routh, was employed as a manager with the firm, had also pleaded guilty to nine counts of fraud.
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Today, officers who led the inquiry have spoken of their satisfaction that those involved have admitted their roles in the con.
Graham Morgan, from Derbyshire County Council's Trading Standards team, said the investigation into the Long Eaton-based company had been conducted over an extensive period of time.
Mr Morgan said: "We first began looking into this case in 2010. We had several complaints from members of the public about the company, which was then known as Virgo Healthcare Ltd.
"We initially thought that the problem was selling tactics but we saw that it was actually something different."
He said the company had purchased lists of telephone numbers from operators which gave them contact details for elderly people.
Having acquired these, the firm used cold-callers to contact them and arrange visits for a salesman to see them in person.
The salesmen would then sign contracts with customers to provide mobility aids, like orthopaedic beds or stair lifts.
He said: "The complaints we were getting fell into two sorts. One was, after agreeing to buy the item, customers had decided to cancel.
"At this point they were legally entitled to do so and get a refund as long as the cancellation was within seven days. But they never got their refund."
The second type of complaint received was from customers who had purchased an item which was then not delivered to them.
He said: "We saw a pattern emerging in the complaints and started to investigate.
"We sought advice from a barrister on the charges and then got a warrant to search the Long Eaton property and seized business records."
"It was a long investigation, the biggest and most time-consuming we have done.
"We are dealing with customers here who are elderly and quite vulnerable and we always go the extra mile in these cases.
"It is very satisfying to have these guilty pleas."