A husband and wife from Leeds who mis-sold beds and mobility equipment to vulnerable elderly people have been ordered to repay over £900,000 following their convictions.
Claire Wray, 38, and Paul Wray, 51, both of Clayton Wood Close, Adel, Leeds, both received prison sentences in March last year.
They mis-sold mattresses, beds and mobility equipment to elderly consumers through their company Dreamwell Limited.
Staff created the impression that Dreamwell Ltd was a company with medical credentials or connected to a healthcare body, when it was actually a business acting with a purely commercial intent.
Consumers gave information about their medical history, which was later used by sales staff to mis-sell mobility-related products. Sales staff were trained by Paul Wray to engage in aggressive commercial practices to sell mobility-related products.
In one instance, the salesperson stayed in the consumer’s home more than six hours. Sales staff took advantage of the frailty and vulnerability of their customers, even visiting consumers with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The investigation found that the products sold were unnecessary, unsuitable and expensive.
Claire Wray, the sole director of the company, received 12 months in prison after being found guilty of misleading, banned and aggressive commercial practices, and money laundering.
She was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years.
Her husband, Paul Wray, company secretary for Dreamwell Ltd, was sentenced to 28 months for illegal commercial practices in July 2016 and was disqualified from being a company director for nine years.
The pair were ordered to repay £917,287.
Recorder Mohammed Iqbal, QC, ordered that the Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order be paid within three months or the Wrays would face a further six years in jail.
He also ordered that compensation totalling £20,757 was to be paid to the Wray’s victims from the confiscated sum.
The Wrays arrested on December 9, 2014, following over 50 complaints which triggered an extensive operation over an 18-month period by the National Trading Standards Yorkshire & the Humber Regional Investigations Team, based at City of York Council and the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team based with West Yorkshire.
Investigators found that canvassers acting on behalf of Dreamwell misled elderly consumers into believing that they were carrying out market research, when in fact they were arranging appointments for sales staff to visit them in their own homes.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said: “I am pleased that the hard work of the National Trading Standards Regional Investigations Team has led to this substantial award under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
"This award, alongside the prison sentences previous handed down, sends a clear message to criminals that crime does not pay and these sorts of deliberate attempts to deceive consumers – many of whom were in vulnerable situations – will not be tolerated.
"I urge anyone who is suspicious of salespeople in their neighbourhood or is concerned they may be being defrauded to contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.”