Please Note: This Article is 8 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

The persistence of a Cornish landlord led this week to his tenant being jailed for fraud for two years.

47 years old Sharon Watts from St Just in Land’s End, Cornwall confessed to her fraudulent activity by supplying false documents to letting agents to gain access to two rental properties last year. She had put forward false references and pay slips in her efforts to gain the tenancies.

Truro Crown Court heard in June this year that Watts knowingly provided false information to Miller Countrywide Estate Agents, and again to Anthony Richards Property Services to obtain tenancies first in April and again in September 2013.

The case was adjourned leaving sentencing options open and was concluded this week with a positive result for the landlords.

One of the Cornish landlords involved says, “When she got into the property [she] never paid the rent then she basically lived rent free whilst you go through the eviction process.”

Normally the police prefer to avoid landlord-tenant disputes arguing these are civil matters, but the landlord’s persistence that this was out and out fraud paid off.

“People always said to me that the police are not interested as it’s a civil case.

“That’s not correct. If a landlord can show that the application form is false and they fail to pay rent then they are deceiving the landlord out of what rightly is their’s. Hence Fraud Act CFO into play.

“I must have spent hours and hours writing emails and letters to the police and Action for Fraud… I wrote to complaints at Action for Fraud, police chief Devon and Cornwall and police complaints.

“They agreed to investigate [and] Sharon Watts pleaded guilty…. This week the court sent her to prison for 2 years. She went straight to prison from the court.”

The serious Fraud Office (SFO) define fraud as:

“Abuse of position, or false representation, or prejudicing someone’s rights for personal gain’.

Put simply, fraud is an act of deception intended for personal gain or to cause a loss to another party.

The general criminal offence of fraud can include:

– deception whereby someone knowingly makes false representation
– or they fail to disclose information
– or they abuse a position.”

Now that the authorities, since the advent of the Fraud Act 2006, (including the FCA), are clamping down on fraud, bribery and corruption, there is far more chance of these criminals being successfully prosecuted.

Action Fraud

Please Note: This Article is 8 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


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