Sales bosses ordered to pay cash back to elderly victims

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News

Jailed bosses of a mobility aids company have been ordered to pay back money gained through their unfair and aggressive sales to elderly and vulnerable residents.

Derbyshire County Council’s investigations into Chesterfield-based REO Marketing Limited led to the closure of the firm - and two of its key members of staff were jailed last year after admitting a range of offences.

Former director Rodney Stone, 64, is serving a three year prison sentence after pleading guilty to 15 charges.

Geoffrey Moore, 48, former sales manager, is serving a four year prison sentence after pleading guilty to nine charges.

The pair have now been ordered to pay back money gained through their criminal activity after the county council’s proceeds of crime action was successful at Derby Crown Court on January 9.

Stone must pay back £28,000 within six months or face a further 18 month prison sentence. Moore must pay back £5,400 within six months or face a further six month prison sentence.

The ruling also means seven victims who gave witness statements to support the case will be eligible for compensation.

Cllr Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “This was one of the biggest ever investigations run by our trading standards officers, resulting in the longest sentences for a case we have prosecuted.

“We are delighted that the proceeds of crime hearing now means they will have to pay back some of their ill-gotten gains.

“Even better is the outcome that some of their elderly and ill residents will be eligible for compensation for their ordeal.”

Trading standards officers investigated REO Marketing Limited after 37 complaints between February and October 2010.

Complaints related to the sale of scooters, stair lifts, beds and wheelchairs for the elderly and disabled - not only in Derbyshire but as far away as Plymouth, Cambridge and Wigan.

Officers searched five premises under warrant including the company’s call centre at Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield, and its registered office at Barker Lane, Chesterfield.

Business records seized included ‘The Door’ - the company’s 51-page training manual for salesmen which described in detail their sales practices.

Stone, of Bamford Avenue, North Wingfield, Chesterfield, and Moore, of Netherthorpe Road, Wingerworth, Chesterfield, were sentenced during a previous hearing at Derby Crown Court in November last year.