Businessmen linked to two former north Derbyshire mobility aid firms have been found guilty of conspiring to defraud elderly customers.
A Leeds Crown Court trial heard how Vincent Watkinson and Timothy Wright formerly of Compass Mobility, on Derby Road, Clay Cross, and Reo Marketing, of Barker Lane, Chesterfield, were accused of committing offences between 2008 and 2010.
Prosecuting barrister Deborah Sherwin said they were behind a scam including high pressure-selling from sales staff who refused to leave customers’ homes for up to four hours.
Methods outlined by Ms Sherwin included false claims about carrying out surveys, that staff were from social services, selling unsuitable items and refusing cancellations.
She said: “People were conned and lied to. Elderly people were talked into paying an astronomical mark-up. This trial could have been Watkinson and Wright’s biggest sale because they were trying to sell themselves as innocent men.”
The defendants - former Compass directors - claim they were consultants with Reo but Ms Sherwin argued it was the same company.
Defence barrister Paul O’Shay, representing Watkinson, claimed things were disorganised and defence barrister Simon Thomas, for Wright, argued the jury could not be sure there was a dishonest plan.
But Watkinson, 51, of Boythorpe Road, Chesterfield, and Wright, 47, of Goldcrest Drive, Spondon, Derby, were both found guilty on Friday of one count each of conspiracy to defraud with Compass and were both found guilty of another count each of conspiracy to defraud with Reo.
Former Compass Mobility director John Higginson, 64, of Locko Road, Lower Pilsley, Chesterfield, previously pleaded guilty to seven counts of engaging in unfair commercial practice, two of engaging in a misleading omission and one of engaging in an aggressive commercial practice. All three are to be sentenced in August.