Three agents found guilty of £105,000 scams which defrauded tenants and landlords

Three men who ran a letting agency that failed to return tenants’ deposits or pass on rent to landlords have been convicted of fraud.

The three were behind businesses which traded as Crestons in Islington, north London, and which left at least 19 victims a total of £105,000 out of pocket.

Mohammed Rayn Mashuk and Mohammed Ibrahim Ali were convicted of one count each of carrying on business for a fraudulent purpose, as officers of Sirs Associates Ltd trading as Crestons.

They were cleared of the same offence as officers of Sirs London Ltd trading as Crestons.

Ahmed Ali Syed was convicted of carrying on business for a fraudulent purpose, as an officer of Sirs London Ltd t/a Crestons. He was cleared of the same offence as an officer of Sirs Associates Ltd trading as Crestons.

The prosecution, brought by Islington Council, resulted in a five-week trial.

The men are due to be sentenced in January.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “This is a major victory for the council, on behalf of private tenants and landlords not just in Islington and London but across the country – sending the message loud and clear that rogue letting agencies cannot rip off their clients and get away with it.

“This business trading as Crestons, using various company names, would have dealt with a huge number of tenants in Islington and neighbouring boroughs and I am extremely proud of our Trading Standards team, who worked so hard gathering evidence and witness testimony to build a strong case and secure these convictions.”

The council’s Trading Standards team is now pursuing confiscation orders against the three men, to claw back as much money as possible for the victims.

The council team’s investigation was partly funded by the National Trading Standards.

Andrew Clooney, chair of the NTS Tri-Region Investigation Team, said he was pleased that the partnership work had been a success, adding: “Islington Trading Standards had received a large number of complaints relating to this property letting company, who were actively targeting people trying to secure accommodation.

“The Government announced earlier this year, following a consultation, that it would make it compulsory for letting agents to belong to a client money protection scheme, which would allow landlords and tenants to recover money embezzled or lost by the letting agent.”

On allAgents there is a mixture of one-star reviews making allegations of missing money and warning others not to use Crestons, and reviews praising their service.

According to Companies House both Sirs Associates and Sirs London are in liquidation with the former due to be dissolved in February 2020, and the latter in November 2022.

More top news stories

Ex-professional footballer scores own goal as landlord of unlicensed properties

Continue Reading ...

UK virtual tours firm clinches global deal with fast-growing US estate agency firm

Continue Reading ...

Hybrid agents can take up to 30% market share in next five years, Purplebricks boss declares

Continue Reading ...
x

Email the story to a friend

2 Comments

  1. GeorgeHammond78

    Be interested to know further background to this; how long it took to get the NTS/Council to get their act into gear; how many clients it took to get them to take action? if the answer is 2 weeks and a couple of landlords, then they are to be applauded wholeheartedly. That’s as it should be and it then stops the miscreants legging anyone else over.

    There’s a case I’ve been following in East Anglia, where the clients who believe they were defrauded, have grouped together via Social Media and with the benefit of a very committed ‘chairperson’ together with a freelance documentary maker taking a first hand interest, they’ve finally managed to get the police interested enough to make an arrest. This has already taken several months and is likely to be well into next year before the case is brought before the Beak. Meantime, along the way, the alleged victims have been fobbed off, ignored, denigrated by the various authorities to whom they turned to for help and, to put the proverbial on the cake, the money will have disappeared up the gazoo. So, assuming an element of justice is served and the woman in question is successfully prosecuted, by the time they get to the proceeds of crime hearing, what are the victims going to get back? – diddly!

    I’m all for the industry being formally regulated but I just fear that the enforcement of it will continue to be sadly lacking. You only need to look at how many agents in any given town are still flouting the CRM regs of 2 years ago!

    Report
    1. Chunkers

      I can tell you it took an age to get this to court. The TS lady retired! Loads of complainants – 19 listed but there were many, many more including one who they tried to buy off and return money for not giving evidence.

      They’d have got away with it with only a couple of people coming forward. Every one of the 19 was needed to prove guilt for each of them as they can hide behind, not knowing about the things going on. TS managed to bring case where they could prove it but it did take all of those people coming forward to get the conviction.

      Report
X

You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a reply

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.