Jail for estate agent who conned landlords

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An estate agent who ripped-off landlords by failing to pass rental income on to them has been jailed.

Paul Collins, who also failed to protect the deposits of tenents, was sentenced to 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to 25 counts of fraud.

The 47-year-old from Lakes Lane, Newport Pagnell appeared at Amersham Law Courts on Friday, March 1.

The investigation by Milton Keynes Council’s Trading Standards team began following numerous complaints in late 2010, when landlords reported that they had stopped receiving payments.

The court heard that as well as failing to pay landlords, Mr Collins – a partner with Thomas and Company Rentals – failed to register the tenant’s deposits in a recognised deposit protection scheme, as required by law.

Passing sentence, Mr Recorder Laird QC said: “On occasion you met landlords yourself and face to face. With barefaced cheek, you lied to them saying that the business was sound when it wasn’t. The losses were around £110,000.”

He added: “Deposits paid by tenants were not protected in the appropriate way. You told the authorities that you were aware of the legislation that required the protection of deposit monies.

“You were eventually made bankrupt, and there is little prospect of these people receiving any recompense for their losses. These were offences of a serious nature.

“The money was never the property of Thomas and Company Rentals. It was others’ money.”

Head of the Regulatory Unit for Milton Keynes Council, Karen Ford, said: “The sentence imposed reflects the seriousness with which the court views those who defraud businesses and consumers.

“Trading Standards will always look to take action to protect the rights of the consumer and support legitimate traders in Milton Keynes.”