The judge was told that locking him up would mean his business would fold.
David Woolhouse, of Colmore Avenue, Didsbury, conned several customers including Urmston homeowner Florence Regan, who gave him £450 to buy materials for improvements at her home. After more than a year passed without him showing up, despite a dozen phone calls, police arrested him in July 2009.
Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court heard that 30-year-old Woolhouse owned a building firm called Apex Builders that employed three other men. He protested his innocence until just before the trail, when he switched to a guilty plea for fraud, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Judge Jonathan Geake gave him to an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
He had also appeared before the courts charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice after giving police a false name when there was a warrant out for him.
In addition to the suspended sentence, he was ordered to repay money owed, do 150 hours unpaid community service and pay £500 costs.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Dave Woolhouse is the managing director and owner of Stockport-based Apex Building Contractors, as well as a Manchester University graduate and a Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.