Maserati-driving agent who earned £100,000 a year is sentenced over tenants’ deposits

An agent who is said to have driven around in a Maserati complete with personalised number plates has been sentenced after admitting fraud to do with tenancy deposits.

Keith Martin, 51, the boss of Seekers UK, was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work for the communities.

He continues to run his business, where EYE spoke to him just over a month ago.

In court it was said that Martin earned £100,000 a year and cheated a system designed to protect tenants’ deposits.

He had “conned” the Deposit Protection Scheme staff into releasing tenants’ money by posing on the phone as the tenants themselves.

Martin and Seekers UK each admitted eight charges of fraud and engaging in a banned commercial practice.

Canterbury Crown Court heard that the seven victims had been vulnerable. Some had had to wait for between two to three years before being repaid the money.

One victim said in a statement read out in court: “He used his charm to cover up his lack of morals”.

The frauds took place in 2012 and 2013.

The prosecutor said that tenants on benefits had turned to Seekers UK – with offices in Ashford and Herne Bay – because other agents would not accept people on benefits.

Seekers UK has returned to the DPS, but the court heard that staff have been instructed not to handle any inquiries from Martin.

Defending, Andrew Turton said the charges involved only seven of the 708 deposits held by the company.

Martin had very much regretted what had happened, the court heard.

In September Martin told EYE that he had pleaded guilty to the eight charges, involving £5,500 worth of tenants’ deposits.

However, he said that he had been trying to get the tenants’ deposits back for them by circumventing the process, and that no money had been unaccounted for. He had been trying to clear his name for three years.

He told EYE: “I must emphasise that at the start of the process we signed cheques over to the tenants.

“We have proved where every penny paid by the DPS went, and we clearly demonstrated that it wasn’t to us.”

He added in our interview with him: “Fraud is a very harsh word for what I did.”

The sentencing is reported here

EYE’s earlier report is here

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6 Comments

  1. bren_gun

    Actually, fraud is exactly what you committed. You are precisely the type of agent who drag the rest of us down with your immoral practices. Stop bleating and reset your moral compass.

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  2. mrharvey

    This guy sounds like an absolute… something.

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  3. jeremy1960

    If staff at DPS believed that they were speaking to tenants that he posed as how can they be instructed not to speak to this moron?

    Pathetic penalty and what about the landlords, were they/are they left in a vulnerable position?

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  4. OverHalfWay

    ‘Maserati-driving agent’ easy done for £482.40 per month on the ‘never never’ in fact I know another estate agent driving around in one of these Maserati’s with a private reg. I prefer my Reliant Robin any day, it’s reliant and ain’t robbing no client’s of silly fee’s either 🙂

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  5. Bless You

    it is fraud to pretend to be something else.However , he may have been just trying to help landlords recoup some costs from this one sided tenant lover system, DPS seems to operate on.

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  6. GregWood

    And he is still trading. What does that say about our industry…..

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