Thousands recovered from rogue trader who escaped jail because of OCD
Over £160,000 has been recovered from a rogue trader who escaped jail because of his obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Patrick Delaney of Bishopsford Road, Morden, was given a four month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months last September, after pleading guilty to fraud.
Croydon Crown Court heard the 28-year-old had called at the home of an elderly woman in Croydon on June 2010, and told her paving and a wall outside her property needed to be replaced, quoting £1,350 for the work.
Four days later she paid for the work and was then quoted £3,000 for decorating work inside the house.
The work was not completed satisfactorily, but Delaney harassed her for payment.
During sentencing Delaney was told he escaped prison by the skin of his teeth, because psychiatric report that said he suffered from severe obsessive compulsive disorder.
Croydon Council launched a cash forfeiture investigation to establish what gains Delaney, who was also sentenced to 200 hours community service, had made as a result of his criminal activity.
Officers were led to a bank safety deposit box containing £166,000 in cash, mainly in £50 notes.
Three months later, Delaney's cousin Jeremiah Sheridan came forward to say the cash was his, claiming the money was part of a personal injury payment awarded to him in 2002 after a car accident.
Sheridan claimed he had given the money to Patrick Delaney's father, Michael, to look after; yet the council's case was the 28-year-old had spent all his compensation by 2003, and some of the notes seized were printed in 2008 and 2009.
On February 14 at Tower Bridge Magistrates Court, District Judge Stone agreed the money probably was from criminal activity and the cash should be forfeited.
Croydon Council will receive half of the money, with the remainder going to the Treasury. It is not known whether Sheridan will appeal the judge's decision.
Councillor Dudley Mead, deputy leader of the council, said: "This is a landmark case for the council as it is Croydon's first cash forfeiture.
"Where money is thought to have been gained illegally, Croydon residents will expect nothing less than for the council to launch a thorough investigation to try and recover it.
"It is rare these types of cases are carried out by local authorities, so it is a credit to our financial investigators for bringing this complex case to successful conclusion."