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.

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Latest Comments

Oliver Conway
Oliver Conway 18 May 2017

Making a neat inventory is a good idea, but if the seller is not willing to provide it, can the buyer demand it?

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Bertrand
Bertrand 17 May 2017

First step to nationalisation of the private rented sector IMHO. Nanny state poking their noses into things yet again. I object, as a decent landlord, sometimes having to deal with some pretty awful tenants,...

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Izzy
Izzy 16 May 2017

This is such a great a post. I love the detail you've gone into. It's a very useful article for helping those who are looking at deciding which sector they would like to go into! When I first started investing...

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paul burnham
paul burnham 30 Apr 2017

Jeremy Corbyn's pledge that a Labour government would build 500,000 new council houses must electrify the general election campaign. Reliance on markets and the profit motive has brought huge housing-related...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 28 Apr 2017

Sadiq Khan?s announcement of an online database of landlords and letting agents who have been convicted of housing offences, appears on face value to be a variation of the already implemented Database

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warren
warren 26 Apr 2017

You're very welcome Mary! Glad you enjoyed them :)

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Mary Ward
Mary Ward 26 Apr 2017

Thank you for the wonderful ideas. First impressions can make or break a deal. It's sadly that many homeowners drop the kerb to create an off-street parking space.

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Tony Gimple
Tony Gimple 14 Apr 2017

I'm not at all surprised that so many landlords are still confused about what the tax changes really mean and how it will affect them. In particular, the blind rush to incorporation is leaving landlords...

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MH
MH 13 Apr 2017

You are right that the bank holidays are going to be spoiled in looking for the properties. But people who want to sell their property and looking for the better relocation, they can get benefits of this...

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bnellyb
bnellyb 08 Apr 2017

There will be an exodus of private landlords over the next 5 years as tax changes take effect, private landlords provide an important service to the rental market, why do housing associations and councils...

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Fred Cassman
Fred Cassman 07 Apr 2017

"Make it look like you are at home": often people forget this and share on facebook their location!

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jared townsend
jared townsend 05 Apr 2017

It'll be interesting to see how & if the Government's asset sale regarding mortgages helps

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