The state’s consumer watchdog has issued yet another warning about a shonky builder who has ripped-off Illawarra homeowners and was allegedly back up to his old tricks just weeks after being released from jail.
NSW Fair Trading issued an alert on Friday, warning people not to deal with Matthew Geoffrey Rixon or the company CDA Fencing Pty Ltd.
Rixon – who is known to have used many aliases, including “Matthew Douglas” and “Matt Douglas” – has been permanently banned from working in the home building industry.
Rixon - a convicted conman who has left a trail of victims, including a number of Illawarra residents - has been the subject of multiple public warnings and court proceedings from Fair Trading since 2012.
In July 2014, NSW Fair Trading received a tip-off that Rixon was operating in the Sutherland Shire and Illawarra areas.
At the time, Rixon was described as a serial offender who undertook unlicensed fencing, decking and minor building works under various names.
Also in 2014, the Supreme Court found Rixon falsely represented to owners of houses in Lake Heights, Mount 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.
Mr Rixon is one of the worst people we’ve seen for continuing conduct, even after he’s been prosecuted and been sent to jail.
In court at the time, Justice Peter Garling said Rixon had “preyed” on home owners in order to peddle his scheme.
In the latest public warning, Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb said her department had “received several complaints about CDA Fencing Pty Ltd and Mr Rixon, including his aliases”.
“The complaints indicate that Mr Rixon accepts deposits from his customers over the phone but fails to complete the agreed work or provide refunds,” she said.
The unlicensed tradie is currently the subject of an injunctive order by the Supreme Court, which prohibits him from contracting, being engaged in, or involved with residential building work in any capacity.
“Fair Trading believes that Mr Rixon is using the aliases Matthew Douglas and Matt Douglas to avoid detection and evade the injunction” Ms Webb said.
“Mr Rixon is not licensed to do or supervise residential building work; he takes people’s money without completing the agreed work, or does defective work.”
Rixon was extradited from Queensland in February 2018 and convicted and sentenced in March for contempt of court.
He was jailed for a maximum of 18 months, with a non-parole period of 12 months.
However, it is understood he was released after just six months behind bars.
“Mr Rixon is one of the worst people we’ve seen for continuing conduct, even after he’s been prosecuted and been sent to jail,” Ms Webb told 7 News this week.
“We’ve had about seven or eight [complaints] in the last couple of months since he came out of jail.”
In December, Rixon faced Gosford Local Court charged with making false and misleading statements in 36 documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) between March 11, 2015 and July 1, 2017.
The allegations relate to Rixon lodging forms with ASIC to register companies and appoint directors without their consent or using fictitious director names and, upon registration of those companies, lodging forms with ASIC to register business names.
Rixon appeared in court on December 11. He did not enter a plea and the matter was adjourned for further mention in the Gosford Local Court this week.
On Tuesday, Rixon was given conditional bail and he will reappear in the same court next month.
The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Fair Trading has urged consumers to only deal with licensed traders, if the work requires a licence. Licences can be verified on Fair Trading’s website or by calling 13 32 20.
“We also remind consumers not to pay a deposit if they have not met the trader or if they have not carefully reviewed the trader’s quote,” Ms Webb said.
Anyone who has had problems with CDA Fencing Pty Ltd, Matthew Geoffrey Rixon or his aliases should contact NSW Fair Trading, on 13 32 20, to lodge a complaint.