Reported in the Cambridge News, Mark Procter, 50, of Barker Close, Hail Weston, St Neots, gradually helped himself to tenants’ deposits throughout 2014 and 2015 to pay for divorce proceedings and luxury holidays, a court heard.
To cover up the crime, Procter forged the signature of an accountant to ensure his company Kirby Property in Cambourne remained registered with the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).
Procter, who pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud at a previous hearing, was described by Judge David Farrell QC at his sentencing at Cambridge Crown Court on 24 February as “thoroughly dishonest”.
Isobel Thomson, chief executive of of NALS, said: “We welcome the result of the Kirby Property Management case which shows that agents who commit crimes and act fraudulently will be prosecuted.
“NALS first referred the case to the police when we became aware of the fraud, and we worked closely with Cambridgeshire Police to ensure Mark Procter was brought to justice and his victims were compensated.
“It was important the police took this case to its conclusion, as is only through the courts imposing severe sentences that anyone tempted to misuse clients’ money will be deterred.
“NALS firmly believes there is never any excuse on the part of any individual to use or misappropriate other people’s money regardless of what personal pressures they are under.”
Detective Constable Mat Belfitt, of Cambridgeshire police, confirmed over 400 landlords had been affected by the fraud.