An Accrington man received a prison sentence for a fraudulent SIA application – illustrating the consequences of performing such acts.
After pleading guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation, Bernard Holmes appeared at Preston Crown Court on 14 September 2021, where he was sentenced to 12 month’s imprisonment – suspended for two years – plus 120 hours of unpaid work and a 30-day rehabilitation requirement.
Knowing that his previous criminal record would prevent him from being allowed a SIA licence in his own name, in August 2018 he completed the required training - using his uncle's identity - and was granted a licence in January 2019 in the name of Jason Nicholson. The training provider later identified Bernard Holmes as the person claiming to be Jason Nicholson.
During an SIA interview, in conjunction with Lancashire Constabulary, Jason Nicholson confirmed that he was Bernard Holmes’ uncle and that he had never trained or applied for an SIA licence – and he also denied having any knowledge that his identity had been used to gain an SIA licence fraudulently.
In September 2018, routine checks by SIA investigators had taken place at premises where staff had stated – and management had confirmed - that their duties were organised by RR Ryan Response Ltd and that their employer was Bernard Holmes.
As SIA investigators were unable to find that Bernard Holmes had a licence, he was invited to attend an interview - which he failed to do. However, during the investigation, the SIA investigators found that in August 2018, Bernard Holmes had formed the company - RR Ryan Response Ltd - naming Jason Grogan, an associate of Bernard Holmes, as a director. Jason Grogan - who was refused an SIA licence in 2019 - stated that he was unaware that he was a director of the company.
Meanwhile, in July 2019, Bernard Holmes was imprisoned for an attack on his then girlfriend.
Before sentencing, Judge Simon Medland QC said, "You have a long history of periodic outbursts of violence and serious conduct. These have resulted in not insignificant periods in custody.
You knew when you were undertaking the process you were not going to go through the usual channels. This is because you know you would not have been granted a SIA licence.
The SIA works well in making sure people are fit and proper and you are not that. You went about matters in a devious way. You were cunning in your approach to circumvent this regime and it worked for a period of time. These offences took place in August 2018 and we are now in September 2021 and within that time you have since been to prison for violence.”
Jen Hart - SIA criminal investigation manager – remarked, “This is a complicated and a devious fraud. This case demonstrates that the SIA will always seek to identify those who are abusing the licensing system designed to protect the public. The severity of the sentence demonstrates that the court thought so, too.”