A bogus estate agent was caught attempting to cheat a couple out of a deposit when the real owners showed up and exposed her cover, a court was told.
Preet-kaur Johal, 26, admitted that she tried to con prospective tenants, Alex Water and Aline Lima, out of £1,500
Police officers were called to the property in Huntingfield Road, Putney, and discovered that Johal had a driving licence in the name of Saira Patel in her possession.
Prosecutor Corran Helme said: “There were two people contacted through Gumtree about renting a property.
“The defendant met the couple on two previous occasions including showing them around the property which didn’t belong to her nor was she instructed to show anybody around.
“She received a deposit of £1,500 for the rental in cash.
“When she was in the property showing the premises to the couple the owner of the property arrives and he’s in shock that this is going on.
“When the defendant is confronted, she does confess.”
The prosecutor added: “Officers were called to the scene.
“She was in possession of a driving licence in the name of Saira Patel.”
Johal, who represented herself at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, claimed she only went along with the plan to con prospective tenants out of £1,500 because “a friend of a friend” had threatened to burn her house down if she did not go along with the scam.
She was fined £175 and handed a 12-month community order which requires her to fulfil 25 days rehabilitation, 19 sessions of a thinking skills programme and 120 hours of unpaid work.