Jail, deportation for ‘Irish roofing scams’


Goya Dmytryshchak

A UK citizen is set to be deported after serving up to two years’ jail for his part in the ‘Irish roofing scams’.

Hadfield man Martin McDonagh, 28, pleaded guilty in the County Court to eight charges of obtaining property by deception and one charge of dealing with property suspected of being the proceeds of crime.

One of the charges related to McDonagh misrepresenting himself as the owner of ‘Jackson’s Home Improvements’, and receiving $9000 for work at Newport.

County Court Judge James Parrish said McDonagh had become “involved with a group responsible for committing deceptions, commonly referred to as the ‘Irish Roofing Scams’.”

“This group was made up of people who were originally from the United Kingdom or Ireland and operated by printing and distributing flyers, advertising businesses specialising in property maintenance and offering to conduct fully guaranteed works for a discount,” Judge Parrish said.

“The businesses which they advertised were not registered and the mobile phone numbers on the flyers were registered under false identities.

“Clients were told that further works were necessary due to structural issues, and the cost of the undertaking of those works was excessive.”

Sub-contractors were engaged to carry out the works, some of whom were unqualified, and permits were never obtained.

The court heard that a Newport woman had asked McDonagh to look at her balcony because the roof was rotting.

McDonagh advised her the work was urgent and gave a verbal quote of $8000 to $9000.

About two days later, without prior arrangement, two men attended the woman’s address and informed her they were there to start work on her balcony.

McDonagh subsequently contacted the woman and unsuccessfully tried to make her pay $12,000 instead of $9000.

In the case that resulted in McDonagh’s capture, a Burwood East man paid $280,000 for defective roof work and restumping that turned out to be turning soil.

McDonagh will be eligible for parole after 16 months.