Zulkernan Hussain Mahmood (30) of West Park Road, Bradford, who traded as UKHI Ltd, “UK Home Improvements” and “Energy Efficient Double Glazing” has been sentenced today at Leeds Crown Court to a 15 month custodial sentence suspended for 2 years with compensation totaling £37,385.77 to be paid to the victims of his crimes. He previously pleaded guilty to 8 offences at a hearing in August 2017. In addition he was ordered to undertake 250 hours unpaid work, disqualified from acting as a director for 7 years and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £27,200.00.
The conviction was secured by the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT), which is a multi-agency partnership between West Yorkshire Trading Standards, West Yorkshire Police, Adult Social Care professionals and supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, with the aim of combatting rogue traders who prey on the vulnerable.
The offences related to:
The offences under the Fraud Act, General Product Safety Regulations and the Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations, took place between February 2014 and January 2016 with West Yorkshire Trading Standards receiving over 175 complaints against the Leeds based businesses in that period.
Mike Walsh, prosecuting on behalf of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, told the Court that Trading Standards raided Mahmood’s business and home addresses after he ignored attempts to contact him to provide advice and guidance. Damning evidence found during the raid included a text message sent in August 2014 in which he admitted “we've become a complete cowboy outlet”. Business records showed a turnover of over £1.2 million per year but the business never registered to pay VAT.
Investigators found that Mahmood, a former Safestyle employee, used the money gained from his deceptions to fund his extravagant lifestyle. He spent the money on private schooling, designer clothing, jetting around the world to Istanbul, Paris and Las Vegas and attending the fights of Floyd Mayweather.
Judge Neil Clark told Mahmood that he was the head of an organisation whose purpose was to miss-sell and offer shoddy workmanship at excessive prices.
The Judge commended the hard work of West Yorkshire Trading Standards in bringing this case to a conclusion. The Judge also praised the Service by saying how lucky we are in this area to have such a dedicated Trading Standards department. The Judge also commended the work of Carolyne Dollins, a Trading Standards officer, who passed away at the tragically young age of 42. Carolyne’s principle passion was tackling rogue traders and she continued to work on the case throughout chemotherapy, such was her determination to achieve justice for the victims.
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This kind of callous behaviour is everyone’s worst nightmare when they look to get a local trader or service. I am glad that Mahmood is now paying for his crimes and his victims can hopefully find some closure. I recently provided further funding to the WYFEAT collaboration to continue their hard work supporting victims, exposing rogue traders and ensuring crime doesn’t pay. This kind of joint working is key to achieving such results”
Linda Davis, Head of the WYFEAT task force, said, “This case highlights the unfair and fraudulent practices that rogue traders will use against unsuspecting, often vulnerable, consumers. Mahmood disregarded the safety of consumers by failing to supply safety glass and has defrauded customers by recording their card details and taking additional, unauthorised, significant sums of money from their bank accounts. This sentence is a fitting result for Carolyne Dollins who worked tirelessly on this case and who was determined to achieve justice for the victims.
Councillor Jo Hepworth, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, said "This case demonstrates that West Yorkshire Trading Standards and the Courts will not tolerate the actions of those who financially exploit members of our society, Anyone wishing to report unfair sales tactics or is seeking advice on telephone or doorstep sales should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service Helpline 03454 04 05 06.'