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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12199
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I would like some advice please about a builder I employed

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Hello I would like some advice please about a builder I employed to do a house conversion into two flats. The job is not completed. We had a contract and he subcontracted to other trades (electrician, plumber etc). It came to light recently that he has not paid the trades for their work and subsequently the subcontractors refused to continue to work. We held a meeting with the contractor, sub contractors to try and resolve this and then found that our builder had no money to pay them. He had been telling them that we were withholding payment. All payments are evidenced in receipts and bank transfers. The contractor has apologised for the mess and is promising to return the money to us as soon as possible. However, we have received no credible evidence of this. We are told anecdotally that he is a gambler and so the money has likely been gambled away. We have reported to the police who believe this is a civil matter. However, we believe we were 'groomed' by this man and he had intent to gain money from us fraudulently. He is also a neighbour, which is one of the significant reasons that we trusted him. Can you advise please what should be our next step now to a) recover the money and b) seek compensation and prosecution. The sums involved is £30,000 owed to us and £10,000 to the subcontractors. Thank you

To recover your money you would have to sue him, get a court decree and if he has any assets try to enforce the decree by taking his assets or applying for his bankruptcy. Note that from your description of him he may be the type that has nothing in the way of free assets. If that is the case it is the unfortunate fact of life that you can't get blood out of a stone and there may be no results on of the financial side of this for you. He has clearly been dishonest by taking your money and instructing his subcontractors to do the work, not paying them and telling them that you haven't paid them. The police are right. This is a civil matter. However, if the police had any imagination they would also realise that a civil matter can also be a criminal matter. In this case theft and fraud, in that he took your money with no intention of using it to pay for the contractors subbed to do the work. It's a matter for the procurator fiscal, to whom the police report, but I would have thought that the police should at least investigate the available evidence. That won't of course get you your money back. You have to engage a good civil court solicitor to try to do that for you. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for a fast response which leaves me clear on my next step.

You're welcome. Don't forget to leave a positive rating on the system so that the site credited me for my time.

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