A group of six scammers, believed to have made more than £17 million in a solar panel scam have been ordered to pay back money they made from the thousands of vulnerable and elderly people they conned.
After a nearly four-year investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, in 2018 six men were sentenced to a total of 30 years and 4 months behind bars for their part in the scam. Two brothers, thought to be the ringleaders, concocted a sophisticated scam, using the legitimacy of the Government Feed in Tariff, the scheme involved selling and installing residential solar panels. The fraudsters would target vulnerable, retired, and elderly people, promising them incentives that they would make extra money from energy their solar panels produced, and they would be able to sell this extra energy back to the grid. They also conned victims into believing any extra money they made would cover the cost of loans they may need to take out to purchase the panels. Victims were told they would be reimbursed the cost of installation over a five-year period, essentially lying to victims that the solar panels would eventually cost nothing, and they would make money back from them in the future whilst saving money on their own energy bills. The reality was, these conmen used a sophisticated scam to con innocent people by using deceitful sales techniques, lies and fraudulent guarantees. Some victims lost hundreds, but most lost thousands in the scam, some lost as much as £35,000.
The ringleaders, Ludovic Black was sentenced to seven years six months and his brother David Diaz sentenced to four years six months. Stephen Wilson and Robert Ross were both sentenced to four years six months and directors of the company Kenneth Reid and Niall Hastie were both sentenced to three years and six months each. After proceedings, an investigation into the profits made during the con found that in total the company made £17 million, Wilson and Ross were ordered to payback £220,000 and £193,206 respectively. The money will be used to pay compensation to victims under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office said:
“These men built predatory schemes to steal thousands from the hard-earned savings of vulnerable people while pretending to offer them a chance to improve their own financial security.
“I’m extremely proud of the way our team worked hand-in-hand with law enforcement partners to untangle this complex and predatory fraud.”
What is a solar panel scam?
Solar panels have been mis-sold to thousands of consumers on the basis that installing them will help a household save money on their energy bills whilst reducing carbon footprint. The problem is that many companies, not all acting fraudulently, have made claims to help sell solar panels, that are not exactly truthful. We are approached regularly by clients who say they were promised their solar panels would create enough energy to reduce their bills and in fact they would be able to generate more energy than they need, so they could sell this additional energy back to the governments feed in tariff scheme. This has rarely been the case and more often than not people are left paying huge bills for finance agreements set up by the solar panel companies. In reality they fail to make enough energy to benefit from the government scheme and are left substantially out of pocket paying for high interest loans.
If you feel that you have paid for solar panels and not seen any of the benefits you were promised, then they may have been mis-sold to you. If you are not happy with the promises made by the Solar Panels Company or supplier, then you can start a claim for a refund of your money. If you have paid for all or even just a deposit by credit card, then the credit card company is as responsible to you as the Solar Panel company who sold them to you. If the company arranged a retail finance agreement with a bank or finance company, then the finance company are also liable to you in the event that you were mis-sold solar panels.
How do I start my Solar Panel Claim?
If you honestly feel that you were mis-sold the solar panels and qualify by paying for them by card (even part payment) or finance agreement, we will be able to assist you. Simply call us for help or use the form on this page to submit your details. You should upload whatever documentation you have in support of your claim and we will assess the likelihood of a successful claim, free of charge.
In order to fully assess the claim, please provide us with:
- Full contact details of the Solar Panel Company.
- Full details of any finance arranged to pay for the Solar Panels and a copy of the agreement if you have it.
- The dates that the transaction to made / order date etc.