'Crooked' Felixstowe director of mobility furniture company who left customers out of pocket ordered to pay £50,000 back to victims
The director of a Suffolk mobility furniture company which left customers significantly out of pocket has been ordered to repay tens of thousands of pounds to his victims.
David Waters, 73, of Manwick Road, Felixstowe, was the sole director of Anchor Mobility, whose products were marketed as life-improving and largely aimed at elderly and disabled people.
Today, Ipswich Crown Court ruled that Waters must repay £50,000 in proceeds from his crimes, reflecting the assets available to him.
It comes after he was sentenced to 32 months in prison when Ipswich Crown Court found Anchor Mobility guilty of 15 counts of unfair commercial practice at a hearing in December 2019.
These offences included fraudulent trading, poor customer service, and misleading consumers by taking large deposits with the promise of delivering goods without ever doing so.
One customer paid more than £8,000 for two beds, which were never delivered, and no refund was ever received.
The fraudulent activity was uncovered when several victims made complaints about the company to Suffolk Trading Standards, which led them to launch an investigation into Anchor Mobility.
More than 20 victims were found to have lost more than £80,000 between 2016 and 2017 alone.
While Anchor Mobility was fined £15,000 for the offences in 2019, additional compensation was sought for all known victims by Suffolk Trading Standards, resulting in a further court hearing today.
Cllr Andrew Reid, cabinet member for Public Health and Public Protection, said: “David Waters ran a fraudulent business and felt no remorse at taking tens of thousands of pounds from many elderly, vulnerable and disabled consumers.
“Officers from Suffolk Trading Standards were left appalled by his despicable actions and have worked tirelessly to bring a successful prosecution against him, resulting in him being jailed.
“They have also continued to pursue Waters’ criminal assets to stop him benefitting financially from his crimes, with today’s ruling that he must pay £50,000 serving as a warning that this sort of criminal behaviour will not be tolerated, and that there is nothing to be gained from becoming involved in fraud.”
Waters is still banned from being a company director until 2029 and has also been made the subject of a criminal behaviour order, preventing him from selling products in a person’s home or having any involvement in a mobility aid company.
Stuart Hughes, senior investigating officer for Suffolk Trading Standards, said he hoped the outcome provides some comfort to Waters' victims.
“We remain committed to protecting all consumers in Suffolk from substandard products, counterfeit goods, and fraudulent traders such as David Waters," he said.
“I hope that today’s outcome provides comfort to the victims of his callous crimes, which saw him prey on those who needed specialist furniture to improve their quality of life and, sadly, often never received this or a refund for their unfulfilled order.
“Whilst no amount of compensation can undo the distress caused by Waters’ deceit, being ordered to pay £50,000, in addition to spending time in prison, should force him to reflect on the severity of his offences and discourage others from doing the same.”
Anyone who believes that they may have been the victim of a fraudulent trader should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.