Fraudsters who ran Islington letting agency Crestons jailed for scamming tenants and landlords out of £105,000
PUBLISHED: 17:39 18 January 2019
Three men behind a dodgy letting agency have each been jailed for more than two years after scamming people out of £105,000.
The fraudsters ran companies in Islington and neighbouring boroughs using trading name Crestons. Between 2014 and 2016 they failed to refund deposits to tenants, failed to pass on rent to landlords and did not put deposits in protected schemes.
Following a five-week trial in which 30 witnesses gave evidence, they were jailed yesterday at Blackfriars Crown Court.
Mohammed Rayn Mashuk, Mohammed Ibrahim Ali and Ahmed Ali Syed were told that they will each have to serve at least half of their 28-month sentence before being released on licence.
They were also each disqualified from acting as a director of a company for a period of 8 years.
In her sentencing, judge Sullivan said: “This is a case of deliberate reckless trading carried out over a lengthy period of time.”
The lengthy investigation by Islington Council – partly funded by National Trading Standards – began after complaints from tenants and landlords who had fallen victim to Crestons.
Islington’s housing chief Cllr Diarmaid Ward said: “We welcome this landmark sentence, which is a major victory for private tenants and landlords not just in Islington but across the country and sends the message loud and clear that rogue letting agencies cannot rip off their clients and get away with it.
“In London’s crowded rental market, tenants are spending huge percentages of their income on rent and rental deposits, so it’s vital that they are protected from bad behaviour by shady letting agents.”
Isobel Thomson, CEO of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), said: “Thanks to the work of Trading Standards the defendants in the case have been given a custodial jail sentence. It is only through the courts imposing severe sentences such as these that anyone tempted to behave in this way will be deterred.”
Mashuk and Ali were convicted of one count each of carrying on business for a fraudulent purpose as officers of Sirs Associates, trading as Crestons. They were cleared of the same offence as officers of Sirs London.
Syed was found guilty of one count of carrying on business for a fraudulent purpose as an officer of Sirs London, trading as Crestons. He was cleared of the same offence as an officer of Sirs Associates.