Serious Fraud Office
Solar energy panel fraudsters sentenced to 30 years
Today six men were sentenced to a total of 30 years’ and 4 months’ imprisonment for a £17m scam which defrauded 1,500 victims including elderly, retired and vulnerable people.
David Diaz, Ludovic Black, Stephen Wilson, Robert Ross, Niall Hastie and Kenneth Reid were convicted by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court in August and were sentenced today by His Honour Judge Warnock. This follows the Serious Fraud Office’s four-year investigation and prosecution into Solar Energy Savings Ltd.
The SFO prosecution set out that the men devised a scam to sell and install solar energy panels which would enable their customers to generate extra income in addition to the Government’s Feed-In Tariff.
However, in reality they manipulated their victims by using deceitful sales techniques, outright lies, and false guarantees of reimbursement to misrepresent the offer and maximise their sales, which ultimately led to victims losing between £10,000 and £20,000 each.
The trial began in April this year, when the scam’s ringleaders, brothers David Diaz and Ludovic Black, were finally caught during a routine police traffic stop in Cheshire, after 7 months on the run.
The sentences were as follows:
- Ludovic Black: 7 years and 6 months for the fraud offence and a consecutive sentence of 2 months for the bail offence.
- David Diaz: 6 years and 6 months for the fraud offence and a consecutive sentence of 2 months for the bail offence.
- Steve Wilson: 4 years and 6 months.
- Robert Ross: 4 years and 6 months.
- Niall Hastie: 3 years and 6 months.
- Kenneth Reid: 3 years and 6 months.
Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office said:
“These men built predatory schemes to steal thousands from the hard-earned savings of vulnerable people while pretending to offer them a chance to improve their own financial security.
“I’m extremely proud of the way our team worked hand-in-hand with law enforcement partners to untangle this complex and predatory fraud.”
The SFO thanks the Insolvency Service, Police Scotland, Greater Manchester Police, the Trading Standards Agency, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for their assistance with this investigation.
Scott Crighton, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
“The tactics used by these scam artists were particularly malicious and they shamefully targeted thousands of vulnerable people to secure a vast sum of money to fund their extravagant lifestyles.
“Thanks to the joint work between the Insolvency Service, SFO and several other organisations we have been able to secure substantial sentences for these fraudsters, putting an end to their deceitful activities and protecting many more people from being conned.”
Notes to editors:
- The SFO opened this investigation in December 2014. The trial began on 9 April 2018 and prosecution completed on 21 June.
- The case will now be passed to the SFO’s Proceeds of Crime Team who will examine whether any recovery proceedings are appropriate in this case.
Latest News from
Serious Fraud Office
SFO begins action to recover proceeds of alleged corrupt telecoms deals in Uzbekistan04/10/2018 17:08:00
The Serious Fraud Office yesterday issued a claim for civil recovery in the High Court under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Further charges against former Güralp Systems employees in South Korean bribery and corruption case01/10/2018 16:15:00
Natalie Pearce has been charged by requisition with conspiracy to make corrupt payments contrary to Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
New senior roles at the SFO27/09/2018 14:52:00
The SFO is expanding and restructuring its management team, to strengthen the organisation’s intelligence and case development function and to bring a clearer focus to the Chief Investigator and General Counsel roles.
All economic crime has victims06/09/2018 15:10:00
Elizabeth Baker, Head of the Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance Division, on the Asset Recovery Panel at the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime 2018, Jesus College, Cambridge.
Alun Milford: Rendering accountable the wealth of criminals05/09/2018 15:05:00
Speech given Alun Milford, General Counsel, at the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime 2018, Jesus College, Cambridge.
Lisa Osofsky: Making the UK a high risk country for fraud, bribery and corruption04/09/2018 14:05:00
Lisa Osofsky, Director, yesterday gave a speech at the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime 2018, Jesus College, Cambridge.
Lisa Osofsky begins tenure as SFO Director28/08/2018 16:25:00
Lisa Osofsky’s five year term as Director of the Serious Fraud Office begins today, 28 August 2018.
Güralp Systems founder and former Managing Director charged with corruption over South Korea contracts20/08/2018 15:05:00
Dr Cansun, Guralp founder and Andrew Bell, Managing Director, both formerly employed by Güralp Systems Limited, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today, 20th August 2018.
Senior bankers sentenced to more than 13 years for rigging EURIBOR rate21/07/2018 09:05:00
Christian Bittar and Phillipe Moryoussef were recently (19 July 2018) sentenced to a total of 13 years, 4 months’ imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court for manipulating the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR) at the height of the financial crisis.