Christopher Escrader, 35, of Little Melton, Norwich, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday 13th September.
This was after he pleaded guilty to four offences of Fraudulent Trading under S.993 of the Companies Act 2006. He was also disqualified from being a company director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 for seven years.
Essex Trading Standards launched an investigation in September 2019 after receiving numerous complaints from Escrader’s victims.
The companies identified from the complaints were Hudson Garden Rooms Limited, Hudson Bespoke Builders Limited, Hudson (Essex) Limited and Hudson Living Limited.
Hudson Garden Rooms Limited went into liquidation but Escrader continued to trade and receive money in different business accounts without telling customers which company their contract was with.
Escrader would visit customers and produce 3D drawings of their plans. Prices ranged from £20,000 to £108,000 for the projects.
He would then set out installation dates and collect 90% of the payment before any work even started on site.
Promised start dates were then delayed, and construction would begin but then would slow or stop entirely. Victims were left with half-finished shells and non-ordered products before later finding that incorrect materials had been used.
Customers also discovered that they had paid him up to £7,500 for planning permission and building control approval, despite no applications being made.
Collectively, six victims paid Escrader more the £278,000 for shells, incomplete builds and, in one case, no work at all. They then had to pay £150,000 to rectify the work to a finished state but not to the initial specification promised by Escrader.
Councillor Mark Durham, Essex County Council cabinet member responsible for Essex Trading Standards, said: “This has been a long-running investigation by Essex Trading Standards, and I would like to thank our team for all of their efforts. This prosecution shows we take illegal business activity very seriously and will not hesitate to take action against fraudsters where necessary.”