Bogus workman jailed for conning Fife pensioners


Two brothers have been sentenced for preying on elderly homeowners and conning them out of large sums of money. 

William McPhee (32) targeted vulnerable victims across Fife telling them work was required to their homes and acting aggressively to obtain cash payments. 

One of the victims was an 86-year-old, who was looking after his wife who has severe Alzheimer’s disease. 

The conman lied about work being required to his roof and then sent the man to the bank on two occasions as the cost of the bogus work continued to increase. 

McPhee, who has previous convictions for the same crime, has been jailed for 410 days. Compensation payments of £2400 were also handed over in court. 

His younger brother Hugh McPhee followed in his footsteps, becoming involved in the scam. He took maggots into a pensioner’s home to make him think work was required. 

The McPhees, who live at Thornton Wood travellers site, near Kelty, both appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court. 

Hugh McPhee (19) previously admitted that on 26th July last year at Ballingry Road, Ballingry, he pretended to a 74-year-old man that his property had woodworm and required treatment, the truth being he knew there was no woodworm present. 

He showed the man maggots he had taken to the property, drove him to the bank to obtain cash, induced him to pay for bogus work and obtained £930 by fraud. 

William McPhee previously admitted that on 1st and 2nd March at Castlandhill Road, Rosyth, while acting with others, he pretended to a male householder, aged 66, that remedial work was required to his roof. 

He induced the man to pay for work that was not completed and in any event was unnecessary, obtaining £1600 by fraud. 

He also admitted that on 6th April at Edzell Park, Kirkcaldy, he engaged in an aggressive commercial practice by insisting that the householder, a 78-year-old man, drive to the bank to obtain money and then demanded he hand over more money than agreed. 

He further admitted that on 22nd April at Harley Street, Rosyth, he pretended to the householder, an 86-year-old man, that roof slates were loose and that the roof was infested with dry rot.  

He induced the man to pay for work that was unnecessary and was not completed, obtaining £1200 by fraud. 

The court heard that William McPhee was jailed in 2005 for similar offences. 

Sheriff Charles MacNair jailed William McPhee for 410 days. Hugh McPhee, a first offender, was placed on a community payback order with 240 hours of unpaid work. Compensation of £930 was handed over in court by his solicitor.


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