Case Study: Have I hired a cowboy builder?

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Our client was the owner of a substantial beachside property in Europe, which fell into disrepair after the housekeeper’s departure, partly thanks to multiple break-ins. The client hired a builder who agreed to renovate the house, rewire the electrics and upgrade the property’s systems. The client agreed to let the builder live in the units below the main house while the work was being completed.

The client was happy with the builder’s work on the house. The problems arose afterwards, when the client decided to sell the property. The builder insisted on being compensated, would not leave the property and refused to cooperate with the selling process.

The client asked us to look into the builder’s history so that he had a better idea of who he was dealing with. He also hoped to uncover a few ‘skeletons’ that could be used to have the builder legally removed.

Initially we found that the subject had no criminal history. However, further investigation revealed that all the personal and professional information he had provided to our client was fabricated. We discovered numerous aliases for the subject. We also learned that he had left the UK because of unpaid debts and because he was being investigated for fraudulent offences within the construction industry.

As a result of these astonishing revelations, we put our client in contact with a solicitor who specialised in fraud matters. Prosecutions were instigated against the subject and he was removed from the property, enabling our client to successfully sell.

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