The ‘brazen’ ringleader of a dodgy builder gang has faked the impact of a brain tumor in a ruthless bid to evade justice after defrauding more than 20 vulnerable people.
David Mason was slurring his words, limping and pretending to have significant cognitive impairment after his companies of shoddy work finally caught up with him.
The 42-year-old’s story began to unravel when trading standards officers became suspicious of his claims and carried out covert surveillance of his activities as he continued to run a used car business .
Teesside Crown Court heard Mason’s medical issues only surfaced when he was dealing with medical experts or the justice system.
Judge Jonathan Carroll was shown CCTV of the defendant working normally in the garage after police seized the footage which was taken just hours after he claimed he could not walk when he drove to a doctor’s appointment.
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He said the doctor had been the victim of “total fraud” and said Mason was unlikely to survive his illness due to the severity of his alleged impairment.
Mason was later shown to be behaving in a confused state, slurring his words and pretending not to understand the questions, when he was taken into custody.
A long period of surveillance work by trading standards officials alongside police gathered evidence that David Mason had created a web of lies after faking symptoms of the tumour.
Mason’s deception led to prolonged delays in court hearings and resulted in the first trial being dropped in September 2021 after seven weeks, increasing stress for victims who had been called to testify.
The judge told Mason he had “faked” serious illness in an effort to “get away with it” when an earlier lawsuit was dropped when he fell ill.
Howard Shaw, representing Mason, said his client had been diagnosed with a possible brain tumor and still accepted the prognosis.
Judge Carroll said: ‘On the 29th of October last year this charade was played before me. You appeared in court, helped by others to walk, said you needed a break to walk across the courtroom to the dock, then feigned inability to speak or understand proceedings.
“I wish I had the opportunity to look at the CCTV of you in your garage that same day to see just how much level of deception this fraud has been inflicted on this court by you.”
A charge of perverting the course of justice against Mason’s wife, Donna, was ordered to stay on file after she played an integral role in her husband’s deception.
Mason, of Harlech Court, Ingleby Barwick, was jailed for eight years and eight months for fraud and perverting the course of justice.