A fraudulent builder from Swindon who left work unfinished after pressuring victims to pay more than the agreed price has been sentenced at Reading Crown Court today (11 August 2023).
Michael Corcoran aged 43 of Stainswick Lane, Swindon, was sentenced to four years and three months immediate custodial sentence after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing on 26 May 2023 to three offences of fraudulent trading contrary to section 993 (1) of the Companies Act 2006.
Mr Corcoran was prosecuted following a large investigation by officers from the Council’s Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Investigation Team supported by the PPP Joint Case Management Unit, the Council’s Legal Services, and the National Trading Standards Tri-Regional Investigation Team.
Between October 2015 and January 2019, while trading under the guise of three companies* of which he was a director, Mr Corcoran undertook several large house renovation projects in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, generating multiple complaints from consumers.
Mr Corcoran’s dishonest representations on pricing and timetabling secured the work, with all but one of his customers approached after posting on mybuilder.com.
Mr Corcoran asked for significant sums up front as a deposit, and then, often on the first day, he would notify the homeowners of an unforeseen expense, usually a problem with steels or their sizing. He would ask for more money and continue asking for more over and above the agreed fixed price of contacts or in advance of ‘stage payment’ dates. If demands were not met, Mr Corcoran threatened to leave the job unfinished, a threat that was carried out on numerous occasions, leaving a large amount of work unfinished.
Consumers have suffered both financially and, in many cases, emotionally as a result of Mr Corcoran’s actions. One victim took early retirement to finish building work himself, having already paid over £80,000 more than was budgeted. While another, who employed Mr Corcoran to build the dream retirement home for her and her husband – who suffers with serious illnesses lives in a home needing constant repair without the funds to escape. She says her and her husband’s mental health have been impacted and their self-confidence shattered.