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Letting agent avoids jail after defrauding seven landlords

fraud wigan agent

A fraudulent letting agent who ripped off landlords by failing to register their deposits has escaped a jail sentence.

Linda Murray, director of Let Me Lettings in Orrell, Wigan, admitted eight charges of fraud in a prosecution led by local Trading Standards.

It received complaints from seven landlords who had lost more than £6,000, relating to nine different properties in Wigan and Skelmersdale between August 2016 and June 2019.

Murray, 40, of Ellerthwaite Road, Windermere, appeared at Bolton Crown Court where she received 20 months in prison suspended for two years, 30 days rehabilitation and was disqualified from being a company director for seven years. She also has to pay £3,660 compensation.

The Mail reports that David Birrell, prosecuting for Wigan Council, said Murray even charged landlords a fee for placing their deposits with a tenancy deposit service, reports Wigan Today.

Bogus

She entered into contracts with landlords which said the deposits would be held in the scheme, sent emails saying money had been placed into it and provided landlords with ‘bogus’ documents purporting to come from the service.

The court heard deposits were not returned to the tenants or landlords, with the landlords left to pay back the deposits themselves.

Mr Birrell said: “She herself must have created these documents. There is no other explanation for it.”

Murray tried to dissolve the firm with Companies House when the losses came to light, but Wigan Council stepped in to stop this happening. Eleanor Myers, defending, said Murray’s life was “spiralling out of control” but did not go into detail in open court.

Landlords spoke of the “extreme stress, anger, depression and anxiety” they faced following the case, along with financial loss, impact on their relationships, being unable to sleep and struggling to trust people.

The branch of Let Me Let has now been closed and Murray is no longer a director of the firm behind it, Companies House records show.

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