A Trading Standards team has prosecuted a landlord who allegedly 'knew' criminal activity was taking place in his buy to let property.
Leonardo Viscomi, from Lincoln, was prosecuted at the city’s Crown Court for two offences of knowing or suspecting that his commercial and residential property was being used for criminal activity, notably the sale of illicit tobacco and alcohol.
The Judge presiding over the case said it was clear Viscomi knew of the criminal activity taking place at his premises because he had been specifically told by Trading Standards. He had received correspondence which detailed the activity and the pitfalls of continuing to accept rental payments.
The Judge handed Viscomi a suspended sentence and 150 hours unpaid work.
Viscomi will also attend a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act, where it is intended that some, or all, of the rent he received over the previous six years will be confiscated.
Andy Wright, principal trading standards officer at Lincolnshire county council, commented: "This is the first prosecution of its type in the country. For many years Trading Standards have been taking prosecutions against those running businesses, but with very limited success.
"Initially, it was never our intention to prosecute Mr Viscomi. He is a man of previous good character, and so we tried really hard, over a number of years, to give him detailed advice and information about what was happening in his building and the likely consequences if he continued to take rent payments. It is very unfortunate that Mr Viscomi chose not to take that advice.”