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Estate agent jailed after pocketing deposits

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  • 21/08/2019
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An estate and lettings agent has been sentenced to more than two years in prison after commiting a “sophisticated fraud”.

Andre Montaut, 59, had been a director of Barrington Property and earlier this year pleaded guilty to fraud, relating to tenancy agreement deposits.

Rather than hold the deposits in a separate account ‒ as required by the law ‒ Montaut had used those deposits as a means of “propping up his ailing business”, the prosecution said, according to reports in Property Industry Eye

He then doctored bank statements to suggest that the deposit accounts were full of funds which had actually been spent elsewhere. 

For example, in 2012 he presented My Deposits ‒ the government’s scheme overseeing protection of deposits ‒ with a statement suggesting that there was £140,000 in a NatWest account. 

In reality there was just £145 in the account.

Montaut’s eventual successor was then left unable to return deposits to tenants, leaving landlords to instead hand over around £70,000.

The judge said that Montaut had committed a “sophisticated fraud” and “hoodwinked” staff at the My Deposits scheme in order to prop up the company.

Montaut was sentenced to 25 months in prison, and barred from holding a directorial role for five years.

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