Convicted fraudster’s second-chance causes controversy

Mobility World Southport. Source: OTS news

The hiring of twice convicted fraudster Paul Frossell by retailer Mobility World Southport has sparked controversy amongst local residents.

Frossell was originally jailed in 2013 when he swindled almost £5k from an elderly couple when he was the owner of the firm, North Wales Mobility Solutions. In that case, Frossell had contacted the couple who had previously bought a mobility scooter from him, asking for bank details to refund an overpayment of VAT.

He then proceeded to withdraw almost £5,000 from the 79-year-old Abergele woman and her husband, later sending the couple a letter of apology, explaining he was in dire financial straits because of debts.

It was revealed in court that police discovered 19 cannabis plants and a system for growing them in the cellar of his business address worth a possible £4.5k when they visited his business address in 2013.

Frossell pleaded guilty to three frauds and to cultivating and possessing cannabis and was given a 12-month prison sentence.

The convicted fraudster later went to work for Mobility World Southport before leaving the company and setting up his own company in 2015, before being discovered in early 2016 trying to again con an elderly individual.

Speaking to Steve Hoskins, Managing Director of Mobility World Southport, he told THIIS: "He worked for us a couple of years ago as a Sales Advisor and subsequently left our employ to set up his own business which he called Scooter Man Paul.”

Operating as Scooter Man Paul, Frossell was buying second-hand scooters from E-bay and then selling them on to ex-Mobility World customers whose details he had recorded during his time with Mobility World Southport.

"Paul would cold call people, asking if they were ready to get rid of then-new scooter they had purchased from us and if they wanted to buy a different one from himself,” added Steve.

98-year-old Doreen Rimmer, who had purchased a mobility scooter from Mobility World Southport in April 2015 for almost £3,000, was approached by Frossell on Easter Sunday of 2016.

Having held onto his Mobility World Southport ID and lanyard, Frossell was accused of giving Ms Rimmer the impression he was calling from Mobility World Southport, allegedly informing her that there had been a recall regarding her scooter and that it would have to be taken away for checks.

After taking away the scooter from Ms Rimmer, Frossell offered her an alternative, third-hand mobility scooter which he had purchased online, putting a substantial markup on the product and using false documentation to convince the OAP of the mobility scooter’s service history.

"In particular, he used an invoice he had wrote out in his deceased mother’s name and explained that she had been the previous owner, showing a bill for service and repair works carried out of almost £2,000,” commented Steve.

Suspicious, Ms Rimmer contacted her friend who called the manufacturer of her original scooter to enquire regarding a recall, with the manufacturer confirming that no such recall had been issued.

The friend contacted Frossell, informing him that they were interested in purchasing his alternative scooter and when he turned up with the new scooter and documentation, police were called.

Frossell denied in court that he had said he was from Mobility World and saying that the machine was the subject of a manufacturer’s recall, but was found guilty and lost an appeal in 2017, being given another 12-month prison sentence.

After being released having served three-months out of his 12-month sentence, Frossell went back to Mobility World Southport in search of employment.

Steve said: "He came back to us earlier this week and said he would like to get back into the industry. He felt he had paid the price for his actions and said this is the only industry he knew and that he had been working in it all his life.

The Mobility World Southport MD explained that Frossell had a good life whilst working for the company and had always been honourable whilst under their employ, however, things went astray when he couldn’t manage the financial pressures after setting up on his own.

"He asked if he could have some work, working on mobility scooters, so we gave him a job in the workshop and working in the van,” said Steve. "Importantly, we made sure he had no interaction with customers, only the trade, picking up scooters from suppliers, as well as fixing up part-exchange scooters.”

Steve agreed to provide Frossell with two days a week, part-time employment, however, having only worked for two days, Frossell was recognised by someone in the shop and reported to the papers.

"We took the decision to the let him go once the papers picked it up as we did not want the adverse publicity it could stir up,” confirmed Steve.

"We did feel sorry for him and felt he had paid for his crime. He had been found guilty and done his time and we made sure he wasn’t going to be put at risk of dealing with vulnerable, elderly people in the capacity we had him working in.

"We thought it would be a positive step towards his rehabilitation, so we spoke to his probation officer who said they were happy for him to have part-time work with us in the capacity we stipulated.”

The company has now confirmed it has terminated the agreement it had in place with Paul Frossell and will not hire him to undertake work in any capacity.

"We had hoped we could teach him the correct way to operate in the industry, especially as he has knowledge of the scooters and how to repair them. Importantly, we thought we should try and help a fellow human being who had hit rock bottom through his actions and I felt, had learned his lesson,” finished Steve.

Based in the North-West, Mobility World Southport have branches in Southport, Blackpool, Bury in Manchester and Llandudno in North Wales and specialise in mobility scooters and powerchairs.

To find out more about the company, visit the website HERE