A fraudster who conned six victims into paying a total of £12,318 for deposits on rental properties has been jailed.
Zhaker Darvesh, who the Crown Prosecution Service says was not entitled to let any of the homes in east London, got the keys to one of the properties while working for an estate agent.
Darvesh, 29, was jailed for 13 months and two weeks at Snaresbrook Crown Court after previously admitting six counts of fraud in March last year.
Darvesh advertised the flats on Gumtree and met with the victims to show them around the properties before agreeing to rent these out to each of them, and collecting deposits ranging between £950 and £3,600.
Once he received payment he would ‘ghost’ them – stopping responding to phone calls, emails or messages.
The victims, who were all unknown to each other, reported the matter to Action Fraud where an investigation found that Darvesh was the common denominator in all the complaints.
Toyin Akinyemi, a senior prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Zhaker Darvesh acted as a rookie estate agent dishonestly collecting deposits for flats in east London.
“He drafted fake contracts and kept in contact with customers answering their queries and discussing move-in dates, before ‘ghosting’ them after receiving payments.
“Some victims were left stood outside the properties on their move-in date only to find that they had been duped.
“The rental property market in London is highly competitive given that supply is short and demand is high – and the defendant was fully aware of the opportunity to exploit those seeking to secure rented accommodation in east London and did so without hesitation.
“This planned, deliberate fraud was led by Darvesh’s greed for money and caused significant inconvenience and stress to victims who were in need of accommodation.
“I hope this prosecution shows that the CPS will take fraudsters to court to face justice where there is the evidence to do so.”
Darvesh, of Ilford, obtained the keys to one flat whilst working as an estate agent at Outlook Property, which has offices in east London.
He obtained another set of keys after renting the property out for himself under his own company Ariana Estates, registered at Companies House as an estate agent but now dissolved.