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SFO secures second conviction of solar panel fraudster

14 December, 2023 | News Releases

Today at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) successfully prosecuted the convicted £17 million solar panel fraudster David Black for the second time, after investigators discovered he was using a different name in business dealings in breach of conditions enacted after his release from prison.

SFO investigators were alerted to Black using a new name – his third alias in five years – after he communicated with authorities under the name David Hardie. Black has since confirmed that he used the name Hardie in business dealings to avoid potential clients finding out about his prior conviction for fraud.

A Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO) came into force on Black in January 2021 to monitor his activities following his release from prison. One of its terms prohibited Black from changing his name, after he had previously been known as David Diaz and briefly David Stark.

The SFO secured a conviction in 2018 against Black (then known as Diaz) – along with five others – for using deceitful sales techniques and lies to defraud 1,500 victims, most of them elderly, out of over £10,000 each. The group sold solar panels through their Manchester-based company, Solar Energy Savings Ltd., making false promises that their victims’ money would be invested and returned to them in full in five years’ time.

This is the first time the SFO has prosecuted an individual for a SCPO breach.

Nick Ephgrave QPM, Director of the SFO, said:

“This individual attempted to hide his part in a £17 million fraud that targeted the elderly and vulnerable.

“Restrictions on convicted criminals are put in place for good reason and we will not hesitate to enforce them to keep the public safe.”

Black will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.

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