The three individuals involved in running the letting agency, Crestons, operating in Islington and the surrounding London boroughs have been sentenced to 28 months in prison for fraud.
They were convicted of carrying on a business for a fraudulent purpose in a trial in Blackfriars Crown Court last month.
Between 2014 and 2016 Crestons failed to refund deposits at the end of tenancies, failed to pass on rent to landlords and also failed to register deposits with any deposit protection scheme. The investigation by trading standards commenced following a barrage of complaints by both landlords and tenants who had fallen victim to Crestons fraudulent activities.
Trading standards have also applied for confiscation orders in the hope of recovering some of the monies owed to the victims.
The National Trading Standards team assisted in the prosecution both in terms of funding and expertise. Many agents will be aware of similar businesses operating at the margins of legality and will hope that prosecutions of this type become less of a rarity and this prosecution represents the start of a more pro-active approach to rooting out criminals in the sector.
Published 5 February 2019