‘I can’t breathe’: Dodgy tradie Alex Bucman rushed to hospital after courtroom complaint

A dodgy tradie who ripped off dozens of homeowners has been rushed to hospital after complaining he couldn’t breathe.

Serial fraudster Alex Bucman was due to be sentenced in the Victorian County Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to 39 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception.

But as Judge Paul Mullaly was outlining the “deceitful and prolonged” offending which spanned a six-year period in Melbourne, Bucman interrupted the court.

“I can’t breathe in here, it’s very hard,” he said.

“I feel faint.”

His wife began sobbing in court as she begged court staff to call Bucman an ambulance.

He was whisked out of the courtroom by paramedics and his sentence was adjourned to a date to be fixed.

“We can’t take risks, there’s a high degree of risk involved in this man’s health,” Judge Mullaly said.

“We’ll adjourn this matter to return back in due course … We’ll manage this the best we can.”

The court was told Bucman was in “serious ill health” and had recently spent two weeks on dialysis for renal deterioration after a bout of the flu.

He is likely to require dialysis for the remainder of his life.

Earlier, Judge Mullaly spoke about the “almost diabolical tension” he faced in reaching an appropriate sentence between Bucman’s health and serious offending.

The court was told Bucman had a lengthy history of dishonesty offending and his sentence should denounce his “ingrained fraudulent ways”.

Between 2014 and 2020 Bucman was contracted for home repairs or improvements, securing a deposit before failing to complete the work or, in some cases, failing to pay subcontractors.

“The victims chased you up with increasing desperation. You made it worse by making false promises or ignoring them completely,” Judge Mullaly said.

“Your conduct was deceitful and prolonged … it was a systematic breach of trust.”

The court was told Bucman ripped off 39 victims for about $250,000 after they posed advertisements online on serviceseeking.com.au or Airtasker.

He would contact them and arrange an inspection, before asking for a deposit to secure building materials.

When the work was not carried out, Judge Mullaly said, he would make excuses before he eventually stopped replying.

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