TWO brothers helped a rogue trader to defraud an elderly man with dementia of more than £50,000.

Billy Banks, 30, and Jake Holland, 27, acted as ‘money mules’ by allowing their bank accounts to be used by a rogue trader.

The victim, an 84 year-old man from Corsham, was cold called by someone who claimed to have seen a loose roof tile on his property in May 2020.

The trader told him he had a spare tile which he could use to carry out the repair, before pointing out other parts of the property which needed ‘immediate repair’, and telling him that poisonous paint had been used in the loft space.

The rogue trader carried out a number of works for the elderly victim, which when surveyed, were valued at £1,660 and described as ‘substandard’.

Due to the victim’s dementia, he could not recall how much cash he had withdrawn and paid to the unknown male.

But, financial checks show that between May 29 and July 2 in 2020, the victim had made six cash withdrawals from his account totalling £20,500.

His bank subsequently refused to allow him to make any more withdrawals. At this point the victim, at the request of the trader, wrote out two cheques in part payment for the work for £18,000 each to Poole brothers Banks and Holland.

Banks and Holland were arrested, and told officers they had been approached by a male in Poole who asked if they would put cheques into their accounts for him.

The money was then withdrawn as cash or transferred to other accounts over the next few days.

Neither Banks or Holland were able to provide a name for the male or explain why the victim had written the cheques out in their names.

Banks and Holland admitted laundering the money which they knew or suspected to be criminal property.

The brothers attended Salisbury Crown Court on Friday, February 9, to be sentenced for their part in the defrauding of the elderly man.

Banks was jailed for 18 months and Holland received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Holland was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £200 in costs.

Both men have been ordered to pay a victim surcharge.

Councillor Nick Holder, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public protection, said: “Banks and Holland were not involved with the work carried out at the victim’s property, but by allowing their bank accounts to be used they have hindered our Trading Standards team in identifying the rogue traders by acting as money mules.

"If a criminal asks you to receive money into your bank account and then you knowingly withdraw it or transfer it into another account, keeping some of the cash for yourself, then you’re a money mule.

“Money laundering is a crime which could result in a 14-year prison sentence so we hope this case and sentence makes people take notice and not carry out this crime that can devastate people’s lives.”