The agent who took out loans totalling £30,000 in the name of a woman whose home he was selling worked at the time for one of the country’s most prestigious agents, Knight Frank. EYE reported the case on Monday.
James Beck, 39, who has now been jailed for 18 months, was at Knight Frank in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, when he used the woman’s details to open a bank account and take out two loans of £15,000.
The offences occurred in October 2016.
A spokesperson for Knight Frank has now confirmed: “James Beck is a former employee of Knight Frank who left the business in October 2016.
“Knight Frank has proactively engaged with all official and industry authorities on this matter.”
Beck, who also fraudulently used his wife’s chequebook and her credit card, fled to South Africa but was arrested at Heathrow on January 10 and remanded in custody.
He was charged with nine counts of fraud and two of stealing bank loan funds.
He pleaded guilty to all offences last month and has been sentenced by Judge Andrew Bright who told him he had abused his position of trust as an estate agent, adding: “You are a deeply devious and dishonest human being.”
It remains to be seen whether Beck will still be able to work in the industry.
His name does not – as yet – appear on the list of agents banned or warned by the industry regulator, NTSEAT (National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team).
So far this year, NTSEAT has published five names.
Two were banned last month – Russell Baker, of Newton Abbott, and Thirugnanaselvan Damayantharan, of Wallington, Surrey.
Three more names have been added this month, with all appealing against prohibition.
They are: Madeleine O’Malley-Keyes; Dermot O’Malley-Keyes; and Karen Wright. All are of Bournemouth.