A BUILDER who preyed on frail pensioners has been hauled back before a court to explain what he did with his ill-gotten £300,000 which has disappeared from his bank account.

Johnny Carroll posed as a reputable roofer and builder with a range of apparently respectable companies when in reality he was a convicted fraudster on a suspended sentence for ripping off previous customers.

He led a gang of workers who toured the West Country and South Wales looking for vulberable elderly customers who needed minor works done on their walls or roofs. He quoted reasonable estimates but once his team was on site the price rocketed and the victims were bullied into handing over thousands of pounds.

In the space of 22 months he defrauded 21 pensioners out of £108,000, sometimes taking confused and frail customers to the bank to withdraw cash.

He charged one customer in Stokeinteignhead, South Devon, £13,350 for driveway work which was worth only £170 and took £12,650 from a woman in Cardiff by returning three times to do the same work on her roof.

The victims were almost all elderly or infirm. Two have died since giving video recorded interviews to police. At least one more has had to hand over their financial affairs to their family as a result of Carroll’s swindling.

He used eight different company names and often set up local telephone numbers for just long enough to rake in business from distributing fliers before he closed them down.

Carroll never gave customers their statutory rights to cancel and offered guarantees which he did not honour and were worthless because he changed his mobile number so often that nobody could trace him.

He channelled £79,000 through his own bank accounts until trading standards officers started to close in on him, when he recruited an unemployed teenager from Wales to launder money from him.

He got John Rice, who was just 18 at the time, to set up a bank account through which another £28,950 was channeled. Just £11,000 was left in it when it was frozen.

Carroll, 26, of Calcutt Park, Cricklade, admitted a single count of fraud. John Rice, 21, of Ceri Road, Swansea, admitted two charges of money laundering.

Carroll was jailed for three years and two months and Rice for 12 weeks by Judge Mrs Justice May at Exeter Crown Court. Carroll was sentenced in his absence after claiming he was too ill to attend.

But last week he was brought back to court under the Proceeds of Crime Act to face confiscation of cash or assets, having failed to provide an information to investigators as to what happened to the £326,883 that passed through his accounts.

The judge outlined a timetable for Carroll to provide the requested information, warning that if he fails to do so a hearing will be heard to determine how much he must pay and how long he will have to stay behind bars.

Rice has agreed to repay £11,650 of cash frozen in his account.