James Simpson Taylor, of Ivy Green Drive in Oldham , took payments for roofing work that was never carried out.
After taking deposits of between £1,000 and £2,000 the company stopped trading. Then Taylor set up a fresh company and repeated the process four times.
When customers tried to contact him, the 57-year-old changed his phone number and used different names to avoid them.
He also fobbed them off by lying that his mother had died of cancer or his partner was in a coma.
He placed advertisements in national newspapers, magazines and on the internet to attract customers - many of them elderly - and rented serviced and virtual offices to create the illusion of well-established trustworthy national companies.
But he left a trail of unpaid bills, invoices and fake payslips.
Taylor employed salesmen and surveyors who believed they were working legitimately and many of them are still owed for the work they carried out.
The court heard Taylor also defrauded British Gas, by repeatedly changing his identity and phone numbers to pose as a new tenant, leaving unpaid bills of over £14,000.
Taylor pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, five counts of fraudulent trading and making an article for use in fraud.
He was jailed for 36 months at Minshull Street Crown Court.
Det Con Andrew Butcher of GMP’s Fraud Investigation Team said: “Taylor’s selfish and manipulative behaviour caused misery for his customers and those he employed, who have been left with huge losses.
“Taylor also told numerous lies to customers about why their conservatory roofs had not been fitted, including that his mother had died of cancer, that his partner was in a coma and that he was unwell. He also promised some refunds, and on the few occasions he sent refund cheques to customers, he then cancelled them.
“This sentence shows how robustly the police and courts deal with fraud and should send a firm message to anyone who thinks they can get away with it.”
Source: Manchester Evening News