A BULLYING security firm boss hired guards for prestige projects including construction work at Heathrow Airport and a Coventry hotel – and then repeatedly failed to pay them.
Crooked John Gaines, who used a number of false names to make his business seem bigger than it was, cheated workers out of around £58,000 on contracts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Now the man who was previously a Coventry pub landlord and once boasted of living in the former home of a Leeds United star has new accommodation – in a prison cell.
Prosecuted by the Security Industry Authority, which is responsible for regulating the private security industry, the 72-year-old had pleaded not guilty to a total of 22 charges of fraud.
But after almost nine hours at the end of a three-week trial, a jury at Warwick Crown Court found Gaines, of Masters Road, Leamington, guilty of all 22 charges.
Remanding him in custody after rejecting an application by Gaines, who represented himself during the trial after sacking his barrister, Judge Anthony Potter told him he would be receiving ‘a substantial prison sentence.’
Prosecutor James Fletcher had said Gaines’s frauds involved contracts he had obtained to provide security guards for four construction sites between May 2012 and January 2016.
They included a Tesco distribution centre, construction work at Heathrow Terminal 2 in 2013, and the Old Hall hotel in Keresley Heath, Coventry, between December 2015 and January 2016.
Gaines also falsely claimed on business cards that his company Crown Accord Nationwide was SIA approved, when it was not.
With each of the projects, he advertised on the internet for SIA-licensed guards – and when people applied he insisted on them starting immediately, without even serving notice on any previous job.
In doing so, he took on people who were vulnerable because they were desperate for work, but repeatedly failed to pay them, or made only limited payments, coming up with a variety of excuses for withholding the money they were due.
The charges related to 21 guards in total.
Judge Potter told the jury he would not be sentencing Gaines straight away as he wanted a pre-sentence report to “know a little more about him” and to give Gaines the opportunity to get legal representation.
Judge Potter remarked: “This kind of sustained dishonesty was exploiting some extremely vulnerable individuals, some of whom had only recently come to this country, desperate for money. He was taking cynical advantage of that for his own benefit.”
Asking for bail in the meantime, Gaines claimed he was having ongoing treatment for his kidneys, and was due to undergo further extensive tests – although the court had earlier heard the only medication he was on was statins.
But remanding him in custody until the sentencing hearing in mid-November, Judge Potter told him: “You have turned up every day for the trial but, as I indicated, we are now at a different stage because you’ve been convicted of extended, systematic dishonesty.
“It is inevitable you are going to receive a substantial prison sentence, and I am very concerned that you may be tempted to put off the day when you receive that sentence.”