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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Fraud charges faced by former letting agent now add up to £255,000

The ongoing court case involving a former letting agent has now heard that the nine cases of fraud being considered allegedly cost landlord and tenant clients as much as £255,000.

Last week it was believed the fraud added up to £157,250.

Russell Baker, from Newton Abbot in Devon, has admitted the nine offences in relation to his former lettings agency business, Ashby’s, in Bovey Tracey.

The Herald Express local newspaper says Baker created “a web of companies” through which deposits and rental payments were passed. 

“A significant part of Baker’s business was the letting out of properties on behalf of landlords. As part of that process the tenants would hand over a deposit, usually the equivalent of a month's rent. Tenancy deposits are meant to be passed to a government approved scheme to ensure that the deposit is properly protected but the deposits never reached the scheme, Baker simply pocketed the money” the newspaper wrote.

“A number of landlords also allowed Baker to manage their properties for them but they found that they were not receiving rental payments from Baker, even though the properties were occupied and the tenants were paying their rent. Baker simply pocketed the money” it continued.

The court in Exeter has heard that Baker had a previous conviction for fraud, in relation to forged signatures on car leasing documents.

Sentencing will take place in September.

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