Posts with tag: fraud

Warrington Rogue Managing Agent Defrauds Landlords out of £16,500

Published On: July 31, 2019 at 8:06 am


Categories: Law News

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Buy-to-let landlords have been defrauded out of a total of £16,500 by a rogue managing agent.

Over an 18-month period, agent Saleem Kassim invented maintenance work at rental properties, to then pocket the funds provided to pay for it all, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

This 35-year-old specialist residential managing agent worked at Leaders on Sankey Street in Warrington. The rogue managing agent managed a flat in Padgate, Warrington, along with two other properties in Liverpool.

During an 18-month period between 2016 and 2018, he told the owners of these properties on seven occasions that work needed to be done on their central heating. However, it was later found out that this work was not necessary and was not even carried out.

Defence barrister Philip Tully told the court: “It is no excuse for his [Kassim’s] behaviour, but the simple reason my client found himself committing this offence was that he found himself in debt – he acted in a foolish and out of character way.

“Mr Kassim clearly is ashamed about his conduct and left his employment because he knew he couldn’t cope with that fact it would be discovered.

“He is genuinely remorseful for his actions – he’s so ashamed that he hasn’t been able to share these matters with his family. He’s a family man who accepts what he’s done wrong. I ask your honour to give him a chance.”

Kassim now faces a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Liverpool Crown Court later this year, at which he will hopefully be ordered to pay back the money.

During an earlier hearing at Warrington Magistrates Court, he admitted undertaking fraudulent activity. The rogue managing agent was given a 12-month prison sentence, but this was suspended for a year. Kassim was also subjected to a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 15 days and ordered to carry out 70 hours of unpaid work.

He was sentenced by Judge Stuart Driver, who said: “You’ve said if you don’t go to prison today that you intend to repay the money, but I don’t believe you.

“You defrauded customers of yours out of £16,500 over one and a half years when you were in a position of trust.

“But you are a hard-working family man with three young children, and this is a case in which there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.

“This is your one and only chance – if I see you again you’re going to prison.”

Fraudulent Rental Applications on the Rise, Warns London Letting Agent

Published On: July 8, 2019 at 8:32 am


Categories: Lettings News

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Landlords and letting agents are being warned to be even more vigilant when on the look our for fraudulent rental applications.

London agent Benham and Reeves has highlighted an increase in the recent level of fraudulent activity. According to the data they received from their referencing agency, LetRef, an average of six fraudulent rental applications were received each month in 2018. This includes some that used a fake bank statement and others that used fake or cloned employers in order to pass the reference checks.

Looking at the data so far for 2019, the agent has already seen an average of 13 fraudulent rental applications per month. Benham and Reeves also pointed out that in June, the month the Tenant Fees Act came into force, the number of cases increased to 16.

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham of Benham and Reeves, commented: “This surge in fake applications is a very worrying statistic for a rental market that is already straining under the current requirements of ‘generation rent’ and this increase demonstrates the importance of using a bonafide referencing company, where staff have been given specialist training from the National Crime Agency on recognising fraudulent documents.

“Unfortunately, the majority of referencing companies do not even collect ID and proof of address, and conduct referencing as a sideline, in order to up-sell other services and earn commission.

“Letting agents using one of these companies or making checks themselves are highly likely to end up with these fraudulent chancers flying in under the radar and into a rental property.”

Similarly, Paul Shamplina and his team at Landlord Action is raising awareness around such issues in tonight’s episode of ‘Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords’. The key message this time is that there is a need for better fraud detections when it comes to referencing.

Paul Shamplina says that letting agents and referencing companies will benefit in the future from investing in technology with the means to validate tenants’ financial means and payment histories.

In tonight’s episode, we hear from pensioner and widow Marilyn Hunter. She was under the impression that her family home was being let to a ‘house-proud’ mother and daughter, who would look after the property as she would herself.

Marilyn said: “I’ve been letting the property for 12 years with very few issues. I have always used a letting agent, as I did in this case, and they use a third-party tenant referencing company. 

“At first, everything seemed to be going well, I had visited the tenants, they were very friendly, and the property was being beautifully kept. Then the rent payments started falling behind.”

After speaking to the tenant, they were very apologetic and brought the payments up to date. However, things got worse when neighbours reported suspicions that there were more people living at the house than agree in the tenancy, which turned out to be true.

Marilyn spoke to the tenants, informing them that, due to late payments and dishonesty, she would have to ask them to leave, but was happy for them to stay until they found somewhere else. Ten months later, rent payments were still coming in late and often incomplete, and the tenants were becoming increasingly hostile. At this point, Marilyn got in touch with Landlord Action.

Marilyn said: “The references obtained suggest the tenant earned £54,000 a year, which we now believe was a fraudulent claim. We have since learnt that the tenant has set up several ‘businesses’ registered with companies house, took out a magazine subscription in my name which I’m being asked to pay, and I have received a box full of letters chasing for money.

“We still receive threatening visits from debt collectors trying to track her down. I am now £10,000 in debt myself as a result and am going to have to try, over time, to reclaim some of the money through attachment of assets.”

Paul Shamplina commented on Marilyn’s case: “Sometimes landlords can think they have taken all the necessary precautions but still end up in a difficult situation. Technology has made it easier for people to falsify documents, which is why letting agents and referencing companies need to invest in even smarter technology which improves fraud detection.

“Landlords should also ask questions, ask to see the full referencing report and take time to grill down any information which does not appear to stack up.”

Letting agent warned to be vigilant over identity theft

Published On: August 31, 2017 at 11:59 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,,

A concerning new report has suggested that the identity theft of letting agents is currently at ‘epidemic levels.’

The research, carried out by UK anti-fraud organisation Cifas, reveals that people in their 30s were the most targeted, with most identity fraud taking place online.


In all, a whopping 89,000 cases were recorded during the opening 6 months of the year – a 5% rise in the same period 12 months ago and a new record high. The report states that there has been a considerable rise in ID fraudsters applying for insurance, telecoms and online retail.

Now, Rent4sure is urging letting agents to be very vigilant.

IT and Products Director, Jack Webb-Heller, noted: ‘At Rent4sure we follow stringent procedures to make sure an applicant is genuine.’

‘If a letting agent uses our checks appropriately, and uses all the guidance and recommendations we offer plus their usual checklist, it would be a big step forward in the battle to stop people fraudulently renting properties.’

Letting agent warned to be vigilant over identity theft

Letting agent warned to be vigilant over identity theft

‘Our system not only checks the address and name that applicants provide but also cross matches these against all the previous addresses and relevant information linked to that credit profile.’

‘We have a specially designed range of referencing services that work in tandem to ensure an identity isn’t stolen, which allows agents to choose the right product to cover any situation.’[1]





Landlords warned to be vigilant against property fraud

Published On: July 11, 2017 at 8:56 am


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,,

Buy-to-let landlords across the Midlands and beyond are being warned of the dangers of a potential rise in fraud during the often-busy summer selling season.

This alert has been raised by property lawyer Javed Ahmed who has observed that owners could see themselves conned out of thousands of pounds by fraudsters.


Mr Ahmed warns that people are having their identities cloned and are having flats and houses sold from underneath their nose.

A member of Midlands law firm mfg Solicitors, Ahmed has raised concerns over this cloning and has called on owners to act quickly to protect themselves.

Fraudsters are fooling both estate agents and lawyers by posing as the owner of the property- then subsequently managing to take out loans or even mortgage the accommodation.

Landlords warned to be vigilant against property fraud

Landlords warned to be vigilant against property fraud


Commenting on his warning, Mr Ahmed said: ‘Property is usually the most valuable asset people will own and it’s a hugely attractive target for fraudsters who want to sell it and pocket the money. It is something people think will never happen to them but it is a very real threat and people here in the Midlands must guard against it. Those who are most at risk are people who rent out their property, or whose property is vacant.’[1]

‘It’s also an issue for those who own the property outright without a mortgage but one of the best steps is for owners to arrange a restriction on their title to prevent the Land Registry registering a sale without the identities being verified. It’s a process best taken care of by a professional to ensure every box is ticked,’ he added.[1]



Property Redress Scheme is Forced to Expel Rogue Letting Agent

Published On: September 8, 2016 at 9:07 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,,,

Property Redress Scheme is Forced to Expel Rogue Letting Agent

Property Redress Scheme is Forced to Expel Rogue Letting Agent

The Property Redress Scheme (PRS) has been forced to expel a rogue letting agent after it failed to pay money owed to its clients.

Despite signing up its 5,000th member last month, the PRS has now decided that Carter Stones Limited, of 1A Connaught Road, Ilford, must be expelled.

The PRS reports that the letting agent failed to make awards totalling £15,406 to four complainants.

After receiving a number of complaints from both landlords and tenants, the PRS made the decision to expel Carter Stones. All of the complaints received were similar in nature, relating to delays and/or failure in paying money and poor or non-existent service.

Sean Hooker, of the PRS, comments: “Failure to pay an award, however large or small, is a serious breach of our terms of reference. Agents must not assume that the complaint will go away if they remain silent and refuse to engage with the scheme.”

Evictions specialist Paul Shamplina, who is also a member of the advisory panel of the PRS, also says: “Having been instructed by complainants who have not had their complaints resolved, I was shocked to discover Carter Stones are still trading out of the same premises with a slightly different name – Carter Stones Practical Living. I will shortly be undertaking a campaign to raise awareness of the issue of enforcement action against rogue agents.”

One landlord that previously dealt with Carter Stones and filed a complaint against them with the PRS feels gratified that the agent has been expelled: “They have made a complete mess of the management of my property, purposefully, it seems, illegally subletting, not registering rent security deposits, and defrauding me out of £8,928 rent, £745 fees/charges and security deposit.”

Have you ever dealt with a rogue letting agent? Remember to make complaints to any scheme you use.

Fake letting agent put behind bars for deceit

Published On: August 2, 2016 at 1:23 pm


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,,,


A man has been put behind bars after falsely posing as a letting agent to scam both landlords and tenants.

Reporting service Court News said that Adam Coote started his deceit with Andrew Rickard and Sahila Kauser in 2012. Coote had only just been released from prison for a similar offence.


Mr Coote, also know as Elliott Wilson, used fake agency names, such as Belgravia Property Group, Mayfair Residential and Park Lane Residential to offer fake properties in London, Bristol and Birmingham.

Coote was jailed for 28 months at Southwark Crown Court. Mr Rickard had been sentenced for 18 months imprisonment, while Kauser had been sentenced for the same period, suspended for 2 years.

Previously, Coote had been jailed for four years in August 2009 for similar scams in Manchester and Liverpool. His most potent scam was to take six months rent from the tenant, only for the ‘agent’ to disappear with their money.

Court News suggests that Coote used the profits from his deceit in order to buy an apartment with a £2,000 fridge, a chauffeur driven Range Rover and trips to fancy restaurants.

Fake letting agent put behind bars for deceit

Fake letting agent put behind bars for deceit


Mr Warwick Tatford, prosecuting, said, ‘the defendants were able to secure access to the properties and keys and a number of prospective tenants would then be shown around the properties.’[1]

Would-be tenants were told to give Coote and his associates deposits, to find that they had failed credit checks. The fraudsters than informed the tenants that their landlord was happy for them to move in, if they paid the first six weeks rent upfront.

Tatford continued by saying, ‘prospective tenants were provided with access keys of the properties and when they attended to move into the property they would find there was already a tenant in place who had also signed a tenancy with the company.’[1]

The fraudsters made a total of £26,585 from their deceit, which is likely to be recouped in compensation and confiscation proceedings.