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Rogue estate agent pleads guilty to £157k of offences

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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

Paul
Paul 25 May 2016

Estate agents are pathetic when it comes to fees. They have this 'I had to do it at 1% because that's what the others were quoting' mentality. We are the most expensive agents in our area, charging double...

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HMO Midlands Landlady
HMO Midlands Landlady 24 May 2016

Tenants disappearing into the night is common from shared houses ( licensed and un-licensed HMO's) often when they owe considerable rent- they remove all their possessions, leave key in room and tell other...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 20 May 2016

With the bulk of the market controlled by large developers, profit rather than necessity determine the pace at which homes are built. There are hundreds of thousands of plots that have planning permission...

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Johna
Johna 20 May 2016

"Easier said than done" is what I would say. Of course, it would be more than great to have more in quality and affordability, but I do not trust talk anymore.. What is said is not what is happening.

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Johna
Johna 20 May 2016

in my humble opinion being fair like THE most important! I myself have had bad experience with unfair landlords... not to mention that I know how to do a proper end of tenancy cleaning since I am a fantastic...

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richardrawlings
richardrawlings 18 May 2016

NB - even if we doubled our commission levels in the UK, we'd still be by far the cheapest agents in the entire world.

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Agent_PeeBee
Agent_PeeBee 18 May 2016

Clueless. Someone needs to take these people's computers away from them so they can do no more harm than they already have.

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richardrawlings
richardrawlings 18 May 2016

Nonsense! The cost of selling a house nowadays has little bearing on the fees charged. Don't believe your own spin on this. Fees have spiralled down to pathetic levels in areas where weak agents have allowed...

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Simon Oliver
Simon Oliver 16 May 2016

The best solution is to buy a property that has built-in income generating potential: a nice house with a couple of gites in the grounds is a good start. In France, the rune of thumb is that one 2-bedroomed...

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WPD
WPD 12 May 2016

I suggest the answer is to have the notary system being one legal person who represents both parties. Having experienced it a couple of times in France it was a dream compared to our dysfunctional system....

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warren
warren 03 May 2016

It's enough to make me weep into my Pimm's :(

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james anderson
james anderson 03 May 2016

The sad demise of the croquet lawn...

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