Prison for pair who ran lettings agency and defrauded clients ‘on industrial scale’

A mother and daughter who defrauded landlords and tenants on an ‘industrial scale’ while running a letting agency have both been jailed.

Angela Colleen Treneer, 72, was yesterday jailed for one year and four months, and Elizabeth Ann Treneer for three years and four months. Both will have to serve half their sentences before they are eligible for release.

The pair ran Premier Property Management in Truro, Cornwall, with the estimated sum total of the fraud being £266,000.

Forty victims were left out of pocket, including a vulnerable woman in her eighties who lost £30,000.

The mother, known as Colleen, started the business in 1992, with her daughter, known as Ann, becoming more involved as the years went by. In 2007, the business became a partnership. Their criminal activity began in 2009 and spanned eight years.

Prosecutor Alexander Greenwood told Truro Crown Court that rents were not paid to landlords, and deposits were unlawfully retained from at least 40 victims.

He said: “Money was used to maintain Ann and Colleen’s lifestyles.” The money was transferred into their personal bank accounts and spent by them.

He said: “In order to maintain the merry-go-round, funds from one property and landlord would be used to pay another.

“When challenged about the absence of payments, repeated false representations were made over many years falsely blaming accountancy problems, computer system failures, banking problems or other reasons.

“As the years went on the deceit became second nature as landlords and tenants were fobbed off and went unpaid.”

Mr Greenwood said the pair had robbed Peter to pay Paul and that the pair had lied “in almost every aspect of the business dealings to hide their crimes”.

The daughter Ann, he said, was at the heart of the lies and deceit, spinning a web of lies to protect her lavish lifestyle, characterised by foreign holidays.

In December 2016, after numerous complaints, a Cornwall Council Trading Standards officer began to investigate the business.

In a subsequent police interview, the pair tried to deny that the mother Colleen was involved in the business, with Ann manufacturing a document claiming Colleen had retired in 2015.

Defending Ann Treneer, Jason Beal said she had become “lost in a realm of lies”. He said that separation from her young son, who has special needs, would affect both.

For Colleen Treneer, Julia Fox cited her age, health issues, and her husband’s reliance on her.

However, sentencing the pair yesterday, Judge Linford told them: “This was a fraud which had the effect of exploiting some of the more vulnerable in society.

“You did so over a protracted period of time and did so in order to line your own pockets.

“It was dishonesty on an industrial scale from both of you.”

A strong account of the sentencing is carried by local media, which said that the daughter sobbed throughout, while the mother smirked and muttered to herself.

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  1. PossessionFriendUK39

    I have more interesting aspects to reveal about the Treneer Criminal Agent case, if you’d like to contact me for assistance in revealing the true picture. For example ;
    of the 40 + Landlords and ‘How any other tenants ? – that were defrauded, when was the first complaint raised and to whom ?
    What is the  #LocalAuthorities  #TradingStandards  #role in this , when did they First receive complaints and could they have acted sooner thereby alleviating many peoples financial losses. When was the first complaint to the property Redress scheme made and what did they do ? ( nothing effective, obviously ! )
    Why was there not a  #ProceedsofCrimeOrder  to compensate for the loss. Many Landlords are facing that now for serious Housing contraventions, let alone blatant criminal Fraud, on what the court describe as  an ‘industrial scale’
    My point is that existing bodies are ineffective, failing at their role and this is causing massive losses to both Landlords and tenants.
    Much divisiveness is talked about and legislated by government, pitting Landlords against tenants, where in reality, Landlords, Tenants and Agents need to be working together.
    A TOTAL   #BanOnFees  ( instead of reasonable limits, )  and the abolition of Possession processes ( #Sec21 and effective means for dealing with bad tenants is as useless as the structures government have imposed i.e.  #PropertyRedressSchemes  and  #TradingStandards.   These do not Redress any imbalance but further exacerbate it.
    Sadly, neither any political party, tenant campaign groups or even tenants themselves can see the harm this is doing to the very people they espouse to protect.

    1. jeremy1960

      Sadly everything you say is true. Government keep churning out more and more meaningless legislation whilst we at the sharp end know that those meant to enforce are utterly inept.

      It’s like buying a business and then thinking about staff, premises equipment the time all  is in place the business has failed!

  2. MrsF

    Applications have been made under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Although Elizabeth/Ann/Beth states she would like to repay the money, I doubt she ever will.

  3. zxcvbnm

    I said it before but again; shame on ARLA who kicked them out but did not alert people or stop them from claiming to be ARLA members and still listed them on their website. What good is ARLA protection if as soon as anything goes wrong they withdraw cover?
    shame on the TPO property ombudsman who strung everyone along for a year before finally making judgements when it was now far too late.
    Well done Cornwall Trading Standards who actually acquired the accounts and waded through it all getting convictions. Yes its a shame they did not act earlier but they are still the only ones who did anything and the did get results.
    The mother owns a house and has some wealth, the basic losses should be made good, though not the ombudsmans compensation rulings. Though who knows how many bills they padded that slipped between the cracks.
    The vulnerable elderly people who lost tens of thousands because they were totally reliant on their agent who robbed them blind. The child of the agent who has now lost his mother for two years. The older agent who in ten years let her valuable thriving business of 100 plus houses disintegrate into bankruptcy and prison. And just the pointlessness. If they had just injected some of their money at the end to put things right they would have gotten away with it and could have sold their book of houses for a profit and come out ahead yet instead they are going to prison.


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