Father and son charged with fake fire resistant glass scam

Seamus James Laverty and James Laverty from Co Antrim accused of £300,000 fraud


A Co Antrim father and son have been ordered to stand trial accused of a £300,000 fraud by supplying cheaper glass instead of fire resistant standard.

At Antrim Magistrates Court, 57-year-old Seamus James Laverty and his son, former director of Glassworks Ireland Ltd, James Laverty (26) were jointly charged with 41 offences and confirmed they understood them.

The father and son, both from the Deer Park Road in Toomebridge, face single counts alleging they converted £23,887 of criminal property by purchasing “items associated with a rally car” between March and October 2012 and possessed criminal property, namely £10,000 in cash, on August 13th.

They face a further 39 charges of committing fraud by false representation in that they claimed to have supplied fire resistant glass to various building suppliers but in truth, it was standard laminate glass.

The list of alleged victims spreads all over the UK and the Republic of Ireland and includes churches, schools, hospitals, universities accommodation for the elderly, shops, businesses and someone’s home.

While the court did not hear how much money was involved in the alleged scam, the charges reveal there was some £196,789 and €127,834 worth of glass supplied on various dates between November 1st, 2010 and December 31st, 2013.

The 39 alleged victims who believed they had been fitted with fire resistant glass include:

National University of Ireland in Galway (€51,500);

Scoil Oilibhein Noafa in Laytown, Co Meath (€40,032);

Almac Labs in Craigavon (£22,433);

Strathearn School in east Belfast (£22,130);

St James’ House in Dublin (€19,300);

Magherafelt High School (£17,574);

St Mary’s National School in Co Meath (€17,002);

Lisburn Road Methodist Church (£15,771);

Downpatrick Civic Centre (£14,980).

Other notable complainants are the Ulster Hospital; Tallaght Hospital in Dublin; Royal School Armagh; Granville Manor Assisted Living residence ; the Design Centre Omagh and Manchester University.

In addition the alleged frauds span the UK with other allegations relating to retail outlets such as Hamleys in Cardiff, KFC in Edinburgh, DW Sports in Leicester, Urban Retaik Outlet in Camden and another DW sports in Gainsborough also falling foul to the alleged scam.

The father and son were given the opportunity to comment on the charges, give evidence themselves or call witnesses on their behalves but they opted to remain silent.

Returning the case to the Crown Court, District Judge Alan White released the father and son on their own bail and ordered them to appear before the higher court on September for their arraignment.

The story relating to the alleged scam first emerged in October 2013 when officers from the PSNI interviewed a man who worked for Glassworks Ireland Ltd.

The fire resistant glass is designed to withstand higher temperatures than normal glass, giving anyone trapped inside a burning building a potential way of escape whereas the standard laminate glass allegedly provided by the Lavertys was not so designed.