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Men sentenced following money laundering case

Two men were sentenced today at Portsmouth Crown Court for their part in the defrauding of an elderly Wiltshire resident.

Published 10 April 2024

Sentencing took place at Portsmouth Crown Court today (Wednesday 10 April) of Keith Kenneth Ball (63) and Oleksandr Romashyn (35) for their part in the defrauding of an elderly Wiltshire resident.

In June 2018, an 81-year-old Chippenham resident was cold-called by two males who advised that they were in the area cleaning gutters and offered to carry out similar work on his property. The resident, knew that the work was overdue so agreed for work to be carried out. The men then identified further work required on the roof, including repairs to cracked roofing tiles, and advised that they could complete all the work for £4,500.

Once works began, the victim was informed that the work required was considerably more extensive than he had originally been quoted for and would cost between £100,000-£150,000. He believed that the men would be replacing the roofing felt, some of the timbers and all of the roof tiles and agreed to the work and a completion timeframe of two-weeks. He was charged £148,000 in total. The homeowner did not receive any paperwork or notice of his 14-day right to cancel.

After the works had been completed, the victim was told an inspection would be needed before a guarantee could be issued, where he was informed that damp was present in his loft requiring further work. He felt that he had no choice but to pay. Over the next three months, he wrote cheques totalling £406,975 to Pridenorth Limited, of which Mr Ball, from Grays, Essex, is the sole company director.

With the roofing work being carried out unsatisfactorily, the victim was subsequently persuaded to make further payments to the rogue traders. In December 2023, a second man, Oleksandr Romashyn from London, was found guilty of laundering £19,700 associated with these works.

In January 2021, the resident was visited by a male purporting to be the head of trading standards who claimed to be investigating the rogue traders.  The homeowner went to the bank, where staff identified he had been a victim of fraud.

A surveyor who examined the work determined that the roof did not need to be replaced but if it did should have cost in the region of £4,000.  A further £756 exc VAT of damage had been caused by the men removing ceilings unnecessarily. 

Cllr Dominic Muns, Cabinet Member for Environment said; Our trading standards team do all that they can to protect our residents from rogue traders and criminal attacks. This was a serious case of fraud, that saw a vulnerable elderly man pay out a significant sum of money.

Whilst neither Mr Ball or Mr Romashyn had actually carried out the works themselves, the payments had been made into their bank accounts which they had then withdrawn as large cash payments. Money laundering is not a victimless crime, and as this case shows, anyone who allows their own bank accounts to be used to transfer criminal money, can themselves end up with a criminal record.

Neither man has provided any information which could help identify the rogue traders. The work carried out was not only unnecessary but has been executed poorly and not to the standard a consumer would expect of a skilled tradesman.

If anyone believes they might be caught up in money laundering, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Judge Mr Rec Gibney told Mr Ball in summing up You allowed the process over a protracted period and set up an account purely to launder money.  You have ruined this gentleman's latter years.  Mr Romashyn was told he had been properly convicted.

Mr Ball was sentenced to 45 months in prison, with Mr Romashyn being sentenced to a 21-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

The Trading Standards team is undertaking a Proceeds of Crime investigation against both males to try and obtain compensation for the victim.  Assets of £130,000 belonging to Keith Ball were identified and he has three months to pay this as compensation to the victim or will serve an additional 18 months in prison.  The court will now set a timetable to arrange for Mr Romashyn to pay compensation to the victim from his available assets.

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