Self-proclaimed ‘Wolves of Wind Street’ cold-call conmen tricked pensioners they dubbed ‘rich suckers’ out of £425,000 by charging them for ‘free’ boilers that were never received
- Gang were Kyle Lewis, 30, David Alford, 33; and Darren Palmer, Jason Cunliff, 42
- Conned 1,200 elderly people out of cash – calling them: ‘Pension rich suckers’
- Then spent their winnings on Wind Street – Swansea’s bar and clubbing strip
- Now the gang has been found guilty by a court of conspiracy to defraud
A gang of cold call conmen who dubbed themselves ‘The Wolves of Wind Street’ tricked trusting pensioners out of £425,000.
The four conmen named themselves after hit Hollywood movie The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio in their cold call scam operation.
But instead of targeting of wealthy investors like the film, they conned 1,200 elderly people out of their cash – calling them: ‘Pension rich suckers.’
The four conmen named themselves after hit Hollywood movie The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Pictured outside Swansea Crown Court today: Kyle Lewis, 30 and Darren Palmer 42
The four spent their cash wining and dining on Wind Street – main strip of bars and clubs in Swansea, South Wales.
Kyle Lewis, 30, Darren Palmer, 42, David Alford, 33, and Jason Cunliff, 42, ran the huge telemarketing scam out of an office.
Prosecutor Lee Reynolds said: ‘This business targeted elderly consumers in what can be described as an audacious and calculated fraud.’
They hired staff to promise ‘free’ boilers under a ‘Government scheme’ and charged an upfront fee of £299 or £399.
But only three elderly customers received boilers out of 1,200 people who paid up.
Mr Reynolds said: ‘There were no Government schemes that would enable people who were not on benefits to have free boilers.’
A court heard those three customers still did not get their boiler free of charge as they were signed up for monthly payments lasting 12 years.
Mr Reynolds said: ‘The three consumers will be paying back well into their 90s for the three boilers that were installed.’
The four spent their cash wining and dining on Wind Street in Swansea. Pictured are the other two gang members: David Alford, 33, and Jason Cunliff, 42
Lewis, Palmer and Alford were directors of Renewable Energies Centre Ltd and REC Home Audits and ran it for just five months.
Cunliff was hired as a compliance manager just six weeks before they were arrested – to give the business ‘an air of respect.’
The gang would lavish their staff with free drinks in pubs and clubs based on Wind Street in Swansea city centre.
The court heard the gang led a ‘champagne lifestyle’ and also spent the cash on ‘flash cars’ and ‘living the high life.’
Text messages between them showed them calling their victims ‘pension rich suckers’ and bragging about making TV appearances on ‘Watchdog, The Ferret and Rogue Traders.’
They also bragged about being ‘photogenic and awesome in court.’
An investigation was sparked by Swansea Trading Standards following a string of complaints.
The cold call fraud comes after Swansea was dubbed ‘the nuisance call capital of the UK’ by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2016.
Swansea Crown Court heard officers raided the office and seized damming CCTV footage and thousands of phone recordings.
The four spent their cash wining and dining on Wind Street – main strip of bars and clubs in Swansea, South Wales
In one CCTV clip, a staff member said: ‘She thinks I’m going to speak to a director now, to guarantee the funding.
‘She wants the work done September, October. I said the fund will be gone by then.
‘So what I’m going to do is ‘speak to a director’, which I’m not. You are milking them, bullshitting them.’
The court heard victims were repeatedly reassured the funding scheme was run by the Government.
But in reality they needed to be on benefits to qualify for a free boiler.
When customers tried to delay making a decision callers piled on pressure by claiming they would miss out if they waited.
The company raked in up to £5,000 a day – with a total amount gained of £425,000.
The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, (middle) tells the story of a team who scammed wealthy investors
Now the gang has been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.
One victim, Sonja Owen from Rhymney, South Wales, paid £299 and only got a survey of her house.
She said: ‘I hope that they get sentenced and their assets taken off them, and they should be made to pay everybody back. Not only us, but everybody they’ve scammed.’
The gang await sentencing.
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