Agent awaits sentencing as judge warns of possible jail

An agent is facing the possibility of jail after a judge warmed that a custodial sentence is likely.

Andre Montaut, formerly of Barrington Property, in Buckinghamshire, appeared in court on Friday.

On February 13, Montaut entered a guilty plea to a charge that he committed fraud involving a tenancy agreement deposit where he exposed another to a risk of loss.

The charge said he made “a false representation to staff at My Deposits Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, which was and which he knew was or might be untrue or misleading” that a bank statement “was an accurate representation of monies within that account, with a view to maintaining membership of the Scheme”.

The offence occurred between May 2012 and November 2012.

Judge Rochford said that Montaut had acted “dishonestly and had exposed others to risk”.

He is set to be sentenced on May 10.

After that, he will have to attend a proceeds of crime hearing on September 9.

The defence and prosecution argued about the amount of money exposed to actual loss.

Mr Williams, working on the prosecution team, suggested the figure was likely £70,000, while Mr Jackobo, defending, contended the figure was likely around the £62,000 mark.

The Judge said this was “a case with a degree of complexity” which has been ongoing for a long time.

The court also heard that Montaut was “of previous good character” but that his offence was a serious one, “with a custodial sentence highly likely”.

As part of the conditions of bail, Montaut is allowed £100 per week living allowances.

A second charge remains on file, where he is accused of committing fraud “to make a gain” for himself or another, and “abusing his position as director of Barrington Property”, failing to safeguard the financial interests of others, “namely the clients of Barrington Property who had lodged tenants’ deposits for safekeeping in accordance with the Housing Act 2004, by using those clients’ funds for business expenditure on behalf of Barrington Property, which is in breach of Section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006”.

The alleged offences in that charge were between October 2009 and November 2012.

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