Home Renovation Scam: Did Construction Company Target Vulnerable Pensioners?

the important thing
Suspected of defrauding about ten pensioners, the managers of a Montauban company and their salesmen were prosecuted before the criminal court of Montauban, this Tuesday, January 30, 2024. Every time the victims have the same profile: that of pensioners, sometimes very old, even disabled. The sellers then offer them a series of deceptive schemes to benefit from renovation work on their home.

Suspects of a major fraud committed to the detriment of vulnerable people living in Tarn-et-Garonne, in Gers, Lot or even in Haute-Garonne, the managers and sellers of the company Az Renovation, are on trial during a dedicated hearing before Montauban of the Judicial Court, this Tuesday 30.01. in 2024

Based in Bressols, this company was founded in 2013 with the president and main shareholder a certain Morad H., 39 years old from Moissagais, and his right-hand man Michaël N., 44 years old from Montalbanais at the head of the commercial management, he will quickly be noticed through their questionable business practices.

After a series of complaints between May 2016 and May 2017, a judicial investigation was opened against X for fraud and entrusted to the investigating judge Montalbano Sylvia Jeansous. During the investigation, other victims reported the actions of the Az Renovation salesperson.

Employees who are actually service providers with self-employed status. Paid on commission for between 8 and 20% of the projects offered, the latter went through other companies with equally dubious business practices.

The victims are always of the same profile: pensioners, sometimes very old, and even the disabled. The sellers then offer them a series of deceptive schemes to benefit from renovation work on their homes with tax credits in question.

The only problem is that in order for these customers to benefit from these tax breaks, the company must have an RGE certificate (recognized environmental guarantor). A clearly visible notice on the truck of the company installer even though the company does not have this certificate.

Clients who contract this work are de facto deprived of the benefits of this tax credit. The situation looks even more difficult because some of the victims took out consumer loans without even knowing it.

Loans taken without the user's agreement

In Montech, a pensioner who signed a purchase order for 36,500 euros of work and credit, discovered that two other consumer credit organizations were charging him for a total of 68,500 euros. The investigation revealed that the saleswoman had returned in the pensioner's absence to get his wife, who suffers from serious health problems, to sign the documents, claiming she had made a mistake.

Morad H. himself then went to her to pay the loan amount through three checks, in favor of his company and the electrician working on behalf of Az Renovation to whom he owed the money.

In Grisolles, a retired couple in a wheelchair was persistently contacted by phone and at their home. The old man, without saying that he was interested, the salesman pulled out of his hat that he could offer them the purchase of the loan they took out in 2014, during the works performed by another company.

The trap closes on them, the service provider tells them it can only work under the guise of a new business that allows them to take advantage of the new tax credit. When the retiree signs, he does not know that he has actually just taken out a purchase order from Az Renovation as well as a consumer loan from a credit organization.

A “business practice” that was common within this company. Reminding that “buying loans” is “pure manipulation”, the investigative judge does not hesitate to describe this practice as a “sham”.
Suspicious of this beautiful transaction, the pensioner Grisolla eventually gave up within the legal deadline of 14 days. Not everyone had a chance.

In Monclar-de-Quercy, a woman who thought she would benefit from a €15,000 subsidy from the National Agency for Housing Improvement to install an air conditioner discovered that no action had been taken, meaning no commercial director of Az Renovation, but that she unknowingly took out a loan of 15,000 euros.

Exaggerated prices for poor work

Ditto in Beaumont-de-Lomagne where the daughter of a pensioner hospitalized for a stroke discovers the pensioner is over-indebted. The 70-year-old would take out three loans of a total of 52,400 euros, for the work of cleaning the facade and arranging the roof.

A job well done that is far from overpriced. As Az Renovation deals only with the sale of services, it entrusts the work on the construction sites to subcontractors, where after-sales service is almost zero when there are defects.

The sales director admitted during the hearing that the salesmen set prices based on financing requests that they could get customers to subscribe to. They also approved “discounts” that gave customers the impression of an attractive price. Managers denied these questionable practices, placing the blame on their salespeople. The latter, for their part, denied that they concluded contracts without their consent or falsified documents to obtain loans from their clients.

In this game of mock poker, the showdowns planned this afternoon in front of the court of law promise to be delicious…

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