Fake architect conned homeowners out of £800k and couldn’t even use tape measure

A scammer, who pretended to be an architect, conned homeowners out of £800,000 for renovation work – despite not knowing how to use a tape measure.

David Gogo worked for Contemporary Home Improvements (CHI) which was set up by Brian Tutton.

The company took deposits from people all over London in 2017 for renovation work that was never done.

By the autumn of that year, none of the promised work had been started and when the residents tried to reach out the company was being liquidated.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard a total of 61 households were duped by the company.

The court heard CHI used sales techniques such as offering early bookings for the proposed work if early and large deposits were made.

It was said masters student David Gogo, 29, reassured customers and gave an impression of “quality and seriousness” to the venture by pretending to be a fully qualified architect.

But the conman, who carried a business card falsely stating he was a chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, could not even use a tape measure, the court heard.

He went on to fail the architecture masters degree at the University of East London, it was said.

Alistair Richardson, prosecuting, said: “A colourful picture is painted of Mr Gogo turning up and not being able to use a tape measure.

“There was plainly an effort to do something but, as ever with Mr Gogo, he was utterly misguided as to his own ability.

“I think it's right to say Mr Gogo's offending is characterised by not only gross dishonesty but also by gross stupidity.”

Gogo, of Tooting, south London, was acquitted of conspiracy to defraud but convicted of fraud by false representation and he is believed to have earned just over £38,000.

His 14-month prison sentence was suspended for two years.

Tutton, 62, ran the con with the help of “principle salesman” Scott Baker, 50.

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Tutton, of Brighton, and Baker, of Portsmouth, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud after a trial last year. Tutton was jailed for seven years and Baker for four years.

The court heard excerpts from victim statements, which described how they felt humiliated, gullible and ashamed for falling for the scam.

Some of the victims were left out of pocket as they were unable to recoup their losses from banks or credit card companies.

Others described a “battle” to be reimbursed involving the financial ombudsman.

One victim, a disabled man, said he parted with his “hard-earned funds” on the promise CHI would install a downstairs bathroom in his home.

It was said he had to move as he could not recoup the money from the bank and could not afford to pay out for the renovations, which he needed due to his mobility issues.

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