Zhaker Darvesh, 29, from Ilford, had previously admitted six counts of fraud.
Darvesh advertised the properties on Gumtree, and would take interested people around the properties. However once they had handed over the deposit, he would then cut off all communication with them.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Darvesh was not entitled to let any of the properties. He had got the keys to one of them while working as an estate agent at Outlook Property, while he rented one of the other properties through his Ariana Estates company.
A number of the victims ‒ who had lost out on deposits of between £950 and £3,600 ‒ reported the situation to Action Fraud.
Prosecuting, Toyin Akinyemi said that Darvesh acted as a “rookie estate agent”, dishonestly collecting deposits for flats across east London, drafting fake contracts and then “ghosting” the victims once he received their payments.
She continued: “The rental property market in London is highly competitive given that supply is short and demand is high – and the defendant was fully aware of the opportunity to exploit those seeking to secure rented accommodation in east London and did so without hesitation.
“This planned, deliberate fraud was led by Darvesh’s greed for money and caused significant inconvenience and stress to victims who were in need of accommodation.”
Darvesh was jailed for 13 months and two weeks at Snaresbrook Crown Court.