Rogue estate agent pleads guilty to £157k of offences

Rogue estate agent pleads guilty to £157k of offences

Former estate agent, Russell Baker, has admitted that he is guilty of nine offences of fraud amounting to £157,250.

Mr Baker, who had bought a well-known Estate Agents business called Ashby’s - was investigated by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service after complaints relating to tenants deposits, and whether they had been paid into a government approved scheme.

Several landlords also claimed that income from was witheld from them by him despite the properties being occupied and the tenants paying their rent.

It has been reported that one landlord tried to sue the agent privately but Mr Baker managed to convince a civil court that the debt was a company debt rather than a personal one.

According to the The Exeter Daily News, the defendant's financial dealings were hard to unravel because he arranged for all of the monies paid to one of his limited companies to go into the bank accounts of another of his limited companies.


The police then became involved when Baker was alleged to have pocketed a £22,500 deposit which should have gone as a client’s deposit on a house purchase.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards said:  “Baker was unscrupulous in deceiving his customers and his friends. Initially some of victims didn’t see themselves as the victim of a crime, but in the end it was their willingness to support this investigation that has produced this successful conviction. This has been a complex process, involving hard work from our officers and also invaluable assistance from Devon & Cornwall Police”.

Baker has now pleaded guilty to amount to  worth of fraud, but sentencing has been deferred until September to allow the former agent time to reimburse the victims under a restraint order made under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Join our mailing list:

Leave a comment



Our Next Event

Complex Lending Roadshow March 2017

Complex Lending Roadshow March 2017

Bolton - 14/03/2017

Barnsley - 15/03/2017

Solihull - 16/03/2017

Watford - 17/03/2017

Register now

Latest Comments

Matthew Hollywood
Matthew Hollywood 07 Feb 2017

Matthew Hollywood - Director Mishon Mackay Land & New Homes - Brighton The shortage of New Homes is in part effected by the lack of land sales. Land sales are held back because there is a disparity between...

view article
CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 30 Jan 2017

Hi Graham, Would be interesting to see the above figure calculated against an investment via a Lt Company /SPV structure and if the investor found themselves pushed in to the higher tax bracket. Mortgage...

view article
Tony Gimple
Tony Gimple 16 Jan 2017

HMOs do make great commercial sense, but do the area research first!

view article
OJoyce
OJoyce 30 Dec 2016

We can only hope this will bring the results we all want and strive for.

view article
Reality
Reality 21 Dec 2016

The changes to land tax were a shock to many when it was first announced by the Chancellor in 2015?s Autumn Statement. However, once the changes came into place and the full details were digested, it?s...

view article
akbar ali dayala
akbar ali dayala 20 Dec 2016

I am a landlord and director of an online letting agents at the moment we charge tenants minimal fees and landlord also meaning we can get best deals for tenants all around if the ban comes in it...

view article
milessgabriel
milessgabriel 05 Dec 2016

Useful article

view article
Spencer Fortag
Spencer Fortag 30 Nov 2016

I am glad that someone listened to me!

view article
Tony Gimple
Tony Gimple 27 Nov 2016

It's not just the lack of estate agency advice that's costing landlords money; most are getting seriously bad advice from their accountants resulting in tax bills far higher than they need to be. Likewise,...

view article
Sally Walmsley
Sally Walmsley 18 Nov 2016

The RLA stands by its sell-off statistics. While we welcome the feedback from Mr Jagota and are delighted to hear how well things are going for landlords in the north east, we would like to make it clear...

view article
Sheryl87
Sheryl87 18 Nov 2016

The high employment levels and the vibrant economy has led to ever-increasing demand for rental properties, especially from professionals relocations from other cities. This has led to more experts teaming...

view article
Sheryl87
Sheryl87 18 Nov 2016

Renting out your house can be risky business. It's good to think about residential landlords insurance. Standard cover includes buildings cover and cover for loss of rent following damage to a property...

view article

Related stories

More articles from Finance