A former soldier has been jailed after he set up a rogue call centre so he could “scare” elderly people into paying for fake home repairs.
Ex-Royal Welsh soldier Richard Evans, 29, led a team telling customers their current homes were putting insurance policies in danger.
Swansea Crown Court heard his firm Crystal Style Home Improvements would "pressurise" customers into agreeing deals by using "scare tactics" – leading them to buy new windows and doors they did not need.
Evans would write scripts for salespeople to use on the phone promising government grants for work that did not exist.
Prosecutor Lee Reynolds said many of the staff quit just days into the job after getting fed up of reading from "misleading" scripts.
He said the business would mostly target customers in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, and workers were "extremely persistent".
The court heard that Evans ditched the business after Trading Standards launched an investigation – but continued his fraud at another company.
The father-of-two began a role at SDG Carpets where he would offer building work for cash deposits and then provide unskilled or bogus tradesmen to carry out the jobs.
Reynolds said the company would hike up prices halfway through the work and threaten to walk away if customers failed to pay.
Customers who complained were "met with aggression" by Evans and fellow SDG boss Steve Garvey, 65, Reynolds added.
Evans – who served tours of Iraq and Afghanistan – once offered a customer on crutches to "step outside" after he complained, the court heard.
In a victim impact statement, the customer said: "These people took my money and destroyed my home, they damaged what was beautiful and original to the property and they threatened me and my son with more delays, and even violence.
"They would lie, mock me and get abusive and threatening.
"They have ruined my house for me and I don't know if I can ever feel about the house the way I used to."
Evans, of Port Talbot, admitted two counts of fraud while Garvey, of Cwmavon, near Port Talbot, also admitted fraud.
David Gater, 35, who was described as Evans's "lieutenant" at Crystal Style Homes, also admitted two counts of fraud.
Ian Wright, defending Evans, said he left the army in 2015 after suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and had initially wanted to start a legitimate business.
Recorder Malcolm Gibney said Evans set up the business in a way that "from the very outset was designed to defraud”.
He said he gave "completely bogus" scripts to staff and behaved with "quite disgraceful conduct".
Evans was jailed for two years and 10 months. Garvey and Gater were handed suspended sentences.
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