A letting agent has been jailed after reportedly tricking students into paying deposits totalling thousands of pounds for flats they could not move into.
The Leamington Observer reports that Barinder Uppal cheated 12 mainly overseas students and a man who wanted to buy a house to get money to support his gambling addiction. He has now been jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to 13 charges of fraud.
Appal was working at the Coventry branch of Reed Rains when last summer he placed online adverts offering student accommodation. He then arranged viewings and reportedly took cash or bank transfer deposits from students, sometimes ‘letting’ them the same properties.
“All bar one were students who had come to study in the UK so English was their second language, and therefore there was a degree of vulnerability because he appeared to be bona fide. Some described him arriving in a white Bentley, giving the impression of being a successful businessman” prosecutor Paul Dhami told Warwickshire Crown Court.
The newspaper says Uppal, who had been given a conditional discharge for a fraud in 2014, made a total of £13,560 from his deception. After complaints to the police Uppal, who lost his job as a result, attended a police station by arrangement in September and said he had carried out the frauds to fund a gambling habit.
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “It is a great pity to see someone like you using your intelligence to defraud people in this way. There was significant planning in this fraud and a large number of victims. The message must go out that someone who uses their position to defraud vulnerable people in this way must got to custody.”