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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Lettings agency conned out of £34,000 by employee

The former office manager of an estate agency in Scunthorpe conned her employer out of over £34,000, a court has heard.

Local media outlets report that Karen Blakey has pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud and three charges of false accountancy while employed by Grice & Hunter estate agency between 2012 and 2015.

The offences did not come to light until 2015 but apparently had been going on for some three years. 

Prosecutor Richard Davies told the court that Blakey - who worked for the agency for 16 years - had received deposits on rented properties from tenants but had not declared them to her employers.

"The defendant's employer had no record of these properties being rented out and the defendant's employers had not received any of the deposits. They had not been lodged with the deposit protection scheme” Davies told the court.

Davies said Blakey had been "altering documents and signing documents"; she was eventually interviewed by police and said there were "financial difficulties" but initially denied stealing anything from Grice & Hunter.

The court heard that Blakey had no previous convictions and had "demonstrated remorse"; it was said that there had been financial problems since her partner had left the house and the domestic circumstances led to her son becoming violent towards her.

Recorder Jamie Hill QC said: "By taking £34,000 over that period of time, you put yourself in a position where you were very likely to be sent to prison. The offences fall into fraud by abuse of position. You betrayed the trust of the company you worked for. There was potential for vulnerable tenants to lose out."

Blakey was given a 16 month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to pay £34,611 in compensation and undertake 200 hours of unpaid work.

Here is one of the local media reports.

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