Norwich Crown Court heard that Stephen Webster, 38, a director of The Letting Business, a property management agency, stole almost £100,000 from a large portfolio landlord whose properties Webster was managing.
Prosecutor John Morgans told the court that the thefts were uncovered after the landlord became suspicious and was not happy with the way his portfolio of around 95 properties was being managed by Webster and his The Letting Business company. After an accountant checked the figures it was found that £97,498 was missing.
After the matter was reported to police, they found that Webster had also pocketed a deposit of £695 from another landlord.
Webster of Norwich Road, Dereham, who had a previous conviction for fraud in 1999 when he worked for Camden council, admitted the thefts, which he used to fuel his drink and drugs habit.
According to the Dareham Times, after being told that Webster had sought help for his drink and drug problem, and paid back the £695 to one landlord and more than £30,000 to the other landlord, the court imposed a 20-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to do 200 hours unpaid work.
The Recorder told Webster he had come close to going to straight to jail.