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Letting agency owner ordered to pay £25,000 to victims

A convicted Surrey letting agent who used his clients’ money to cover his business debts has been ordered to pay £25,000 to compensate his victims.

Chandra Patel, who was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment in April 2016, took rent and deposit payments, held in trust, to the tune of £28,000, whilst trading as Giraffe Properties Limited.

More than a dozen landlords were owed money when Patel ceased trading with some forced to reimburse tenants’ deposits out of their own pockets.

  

Following his prosecution, local authority trading standards officers launched a financial investigation to determine whether Patel had any assets that could be confiscated or used as compensation to pay the victims.

An application made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for Confiscation and Compensation, saw Patel appear before Kingston Crown Court earlier this month where it was determined he had sufficient means to compensate his victims, and was ordered to do so within three months.

“We have begun the process of contacting the landlords affected by Mr Patel’s illegal activities so that they can be duly compensated" says a council spokesman.

  

Including court costs, Patel has three months to pay a total sum of £37,130.85 or face 30 months imprisonment.

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    Taking deposits using the "insured scheme" where agent/landlord becomes custodian of the deposit without any checks is all too tempting for some! All of this could and should be avoided but government, whom issue the licence to the operators of these schemes seem to be "asleep at the wheel" once again!

  • David OConnor

    The Law seems to be working in this case. The laws are there; it is more enforcement that is needed not more red tape that the ethical companies will following but the rogues will not and therefore will not improve the industry or offer any more protection.

    More rules is never helpful. More Enforcement like this will make the Rogues think twice.

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    More enforcement is correct but with the current "insured schemes" agents and landlords can act with impunity until it's too late and the money has gone!
    What happens if in this case as many others they don't pay - who picks up the tab? The taxpayer!
    Surely a sytem that allows this sort of behaviour is in need of reform (not further red tape but less through a better sytem fit for the 21st century.

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