A convicted criminal who went on to set up his own letting agency stole more than £17,000 in rents and deposits.
With nothing in law to stop anyone setting up a letting agency, Keiran Farrer, 35, was able to launch TFT Cumbria Property Rentals in Carlisle, Cumbria.
He had a previous criminal record which the judge described as “substantial”.
However a YouTube film (see link below) stresses the experience and professionalism of the agency.
Trouble began after a local firm of builders, Cubby Construction, built a development of five flats and agreed that Farrer’s agency could manage them.
All the tenants were asked for a deposit, but their money was not returned to them when the tenancy ended and rent was not handed over to the landlords, Cubby Construction.
Altogether, £17,580 disappeared.
When police searched Farrer’s home, they found a fake bank statement showing £46,000 in his account, making it look as though he still had the money. But, said prosecutor Kim Whittlestone, it was a forgery and he had only 21p.
The missing money has not been recovered.
At Carlisle Crown Court, Farrer admitted one count of theft and one of making a false instrument.
For Farrer, Mark Shepherd said: “He wanted to step away from crime, and he set up a letting agency business, with assistance from appropriate agencies.
“That was not set up with the sole purpose of seeking to con Cubby Construction.
“There were a number of landlords that Mr Farrer was working with.”
Judge Peter Hughes QC told Farrer: “You are a thoroughly dishonest businessman. You have been dishonest for years and, in my view, you continue to dishonest.”
The judge said Farrer – who appeared in court in a wheelchair – had a “substantial criminal record”. He said he was not convinced Farrer needed a wheelchair.
Farrer was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and put on probation for two years.
According to company records, Farrer set up his lettings business in September 2012 – although the YouTube video is dated May 2012 – and retired a year later. The company was dissolved in March this year. No other director is listed.
It traded from Bourne House, Milbourne Street, Carlise. The firm’s website, which stresses that “TFT Cumbria Property Rentals is a deeply personal and professional letting agency”, is still available at: http://www.tftcumbriaproperty.co.uk/index.php