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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Scott Garnet
Scott Garnet 06 Nov 2017

If you have a patio or a porch it is important to make sure that any connecting doors are secured. Good advice for sliding glass doors is replacing the panels with storm resistant glass and getting heavier...

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richardrawlings
richardrawlings 01 Nov 2017

What has not been mentioned here is the effect of not only higher interest payments, but also that these payments are less likely to be offsettable as a business cost due to the scaling back of mortgage...

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Kelvin Lloyd
Kelvin Lloyd 09 Oct 2017

IT is up, to the Planners. If they will only give permission for bungalows on certain (suitable) sites, they will be built.

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maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

It's just the beginning of the shocking rise.

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maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

I have recently read that the bungalows can provide social housing for elderly residents in London.

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zoe glover
zoe glover 05 Oct 2017

Update! Worst company I have ever dealt with. Undervalued a Cambridge property by over 100k, wont take on any evidence of valuation including a RICS valuation done 3 years ago for the very same value...

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Paul Edwards
Paul Edwards 27 Sep 2017

Its nonsense articles such as this that make it harder to get clients to realise just how difficult the market is out there. When you see Rightmove and there are more 'price reduced' then 'new' most days...

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Tom Allen
Tom Allen 20 Sep 2017

Absolutely agree with you!

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RyanGeo
RyanGeo 18 Sep 2017

A sharp correction would be a less dramatic expression to use. That is already underway in certain sectors in Reading where I practice as Chartered Surveyor

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sean benton
sean benton 01 Sep 2017

Identity theft is a thread for any profession. So,people should stay alarmed. I once take help from a letting agent and came to know that letting agents are taking every precaution to prevent fraudulent...

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Mark N.
Mark N. 30 Aug 2017

We have seen a surge in instructions over August and that should continue into September too.

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Chris
Chris 30 Aug 2017

Unfortunately, all the legislation bears its force on Landlords and ignores, naively, the effect of Rogue Tenants on the ability of landlords to keep houses in repair and offer properties for rent at reasonable...

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