Shonky builder defied court ban

A shonky Newcastle builder fined tens of thousands of dollars and banned from the industry worked on at least three Illawarra properties in defiance of court orders.

The Supreme Court found serial fraudster Matthew Rixon flagrantly breached orders put in place by the court in April last year that prohibited him from carrying out any work in the construction industry while unlicensed.

Rixon was barred and fined $72,000 after pleading guilty to 29 charges relating to doing building work without a licence, demanding excessive deposits and doing substandard or incomplete work at homes throughout the Hunter Region.

However, less than two months after being sentenced, Rixon was back to his old habits, this time targeting households in southern Sydney and the Illawarra.

The court found Rixon falsely represented to owners of houses in Lake Heights, Mt Ousley, Dapto, Loftus and Eastwood that he was licensed to carry out building work, and in some cases, took deposits for the job and began the work.

The victims rang Rixon seeking his services after seeing  advertisements he had placed in newspapers, including the Mercury, and the Yellow Pages in early June, under the business names of Waratah Decks and Meadow Fencing.

Rixon used the assumed name Andrew Gough, however, the court heard that his level of deception went further than that.

‘‘All of the material suggests that, after the court orders came into effect [in April 2013], Mr Rixon set about creating a network of companies to undertake residential building work, in circumstances where, unless proper investigation was undertaken, his connection to those companies would not be obvious,’’ a judgment handed down by Justice Peter Garling read.

‘‘He used a number of false names to deal with customers, on behalf of these companies. Generally the work was not done and the deposit given was lost.

‘‘I am well satisfied...beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Rixon intentionally set out to avoid the consequence of the court’s orders by creating the network of companies...in circumstances where Mr Rixon did not hold any contractor’s  licence, and none of the companies were licensed.’’

Justice Garling found Rixon in contempt of court in relation to the work at the five properties.

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