Man tricked OAPs into buying chalets they thought were permanent homes, court hears
William Flannigan, 54, led 19 people to believe they could live in the chalets all year round, it is alleged.
He often "induced" people selling their "bricks and mortar" homes to buy into his holiday bungalows, a jury was told.
But after moving in, customers were asked to sign a licence agreement describing their purchase at Lakeminster Park near Beverley, East Yorks., as a 'holiday home'.
The ‘holiday homes’ were at Lakeminster Park near Beverley, East Yorks
Instead of being able to "live out their years" at the site, they were later told by East Riding of Yorkshire Council they could not live there permanently – and faced eviction.
It is alleged that he, Mr Flannigan, sold holiday chalets on a caravan site which he owned in Beverley
David Gordon – Prosecuting
His customers – some in ill health, looking to down-size or looking for a quieter life – were left in financial ruin and some without a place to call home, the court heard.
The court was also told that site owner Flannigan also encouraged buyers to use his preferred solicitor in the sale – which many did.
David Gordon, prosecuting, told the jury: "It is alleged that he, Mr Flannigan, sold holiday chalets on a caravan site which he owned in Beverley on the basis that purchasers of those chalets could retire there and live there permanently.
Flannigan led 19 people to believe they could live in the chalets all year round, a court heard
Flannigan also encouraged buyers to use his preferred solicitor in the sale, a court heard
"In fact, say the prosecution, Mr Flannigan, the owner of the site, only had planning permission from the local authority for holiday purposes.
"People were not permitted to use the holiday chalets as their sole residence.
"The prosecution case is that he knew this perfectly well, but he put his own financial interests ahead of other considerations, and he dishonestly misrepresented the situation as regards the planning permission to the purchasers of the chalets.
"A number of purchasers, many of them retired and of mature years, have faced eviction by the council from their only homes."
Prosecutors said Flannigan was often ‘instrumental’ in the complainants' sale of their homes
Mr Gordon said the defendant gained a "significant financial advantage, made money for himself, and caused significant loss to others, in some cases causing financial ruin".
Prosecutors said he was often "instrumental" in the complainants' sale of their homes, and provided interest-free loans to bridge any funding shortfall for his chalets.
The trial, which is expected to last eight weeks, continues.