Bristol lie detector test reveals fraud
A Bristol lie detector test could have helped police in a recent fraud case. A tradesman will serve a sentence after pleading guilty to fraud at Bristol Crown Court.
Daniel Denison was paid significant amounts of money by homeowners for building work. He either failed to complete the work or never even started. He took substantial deposits from his customers but delivered the building works to a poor standard.
No planning permission
He also failed to apply for planning permission when required, requested additional payments for so-called ‘extras’ or left jobs unfinished. Completion deadlines for building work were missed and calls from those customers he had taken money from were repeatedly ignored.
Using an app for fraud
Denison used ratedpeople.com to obtain leads for work. He would then send out a salesman to provide a quote for the job. Once the customer agreed to the work, they paid a 10 per cent deposit. In some cases works did commence, but frequently it would be months before they heard anything from him.
Wendy Martin, director at National Trading Standards, said: “Mr Denison deliberately deceived trusting homeowners who handed over hard earned money for building work that was either never started or left unfinished. As a result, homeowners have lost significant sums of money.
“Today’s sentence is another reminder that this type of criminality will not go unpunished, and I hope it brings some semblance of justice to the victims.”
Avon and Somerset Police said that for eight victims, no works were ever carried out. No refund was given or offered either. Mr Denison would become increasingly hard to contact, with workers sporadically turning up on site.
Demands for money
Further demands for money would be made despite the slow progress and poor quality of work not matching the sums already handed over. When customers refused to pay over more money, he would withdraw builders from the site and, on many occasions, never return to complete the job.
This left customers helpless, with most having to pay out more money to other tradesmen to finish the job. While there were customers who did have jobs completed, Denison would frequently demand further sums for ‘extras’ and fail to return to rectify issues.
An investigation led by the National Trading Standards South West Regional Investigations Team, hosted by Bristol City Council, identified a total of 18 victims from Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Plymouth and across the South West, who suffered financial losses totaling £135,000.
Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, who has responsibility for regulatory services at Bristol City Council, said: “This investigation found victims spread across the region, which shows the importance and effectiveness of the National Trading Standards South West Regional Investigations Team.
“People looking to make home improvements trusted Mr Denison and paid him in good faith. What they received in return was poor work or no work at all. The sentence handed to him reflects the seriousness of this case.
“We are proud to host the regional team on behalf of the South West in Bristol, helping to protect consumers across the region, and I congratulate the team for their professionalism in bringing such a prolific offender to justice.”
How a lie detector test could have helped
Police are now looking to implement more polygraph testing at their arrest and interrogation stages. Adding a lie detector test into these stages ensures that police have an extra indicator when making a decision on whether a suspect is guilty or not. The added scientific test means police have more evidence and facts to take into their final opinion and charges. A lie detector test in this case could have helped prevent the fraud, or would have bought justice for the victim involved.
We provide confidential office appointments and home tests throughout the South West.