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Fake architect avoids jail term

Unqualified designer who drew up plans for schools and council flats is given suspended sentence

A FAKE architect who has been designing schools, crèches and council flats across Yvelines for the past 30 years has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence for fraud and practising without qualification.

The sentence, which came as headlines were filled with the loss of eight lives in an unrelated building collapse in Rosny-sous-Bois, on the other side of Paris in Seine-Saint-Denis, was less than that demanded by the prosecutor, who had called for 60-year-old Philippe Leblanc to be jailed for three years, with just two suspended.

It reflected only offences during the period 2009 to 2013 as others came under the statute of limitations.

During these four years unqualified Leblanc had won contracts for public building works that earned him more than €900,000. He had signed off his building designs by falsely using the stamp of his brother-in-law, an architect in Lozère.

Leblanc was also ordered to pay damages of up to €3,000 to various people who had hired him – with the court saying he had abused their confidence, although adding that the works had been carried out “without difficulty”.

However, the court rejected claims from other parties for damages of up to €260,000 in case of future problems as Leblanc’s insurers had said they would refuse any payout in the event of a problem.

His massive fraud was discovered by a couple who had been dissatisfied with work he had done and checked his qualifications.

• To find out how you can check an architect’s qualifications – see October’s issue of The Connexion, which goes on sale in shops at the end of this month… or click here to subscribe now

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