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

MBM Homelets
MBM Homelets 23 Mar 2017

Although this is a very positive step, there is little or no guarantee of the standard of workmanship employed by the tenants. We have had experience of a professionally decorated property being ' painted'...

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ajay
ajay 21 Mar 2017

How is the "robust evidence" looking now?

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NathanG
NathanG 20 Mar 2017

I've been watching the series so far and am completely baffled by the cases that were presented. Though, I don't think that we can protect ourselves from every scam possible - it will just make the scammers...

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Landlady14
Landlady14 01 Mar 2017

You would think so Niraj Shah! My experience only proves that there are varying qualitiers of professional in all aspects of property letting. None of the ones I have dealt with, from letting agents to...

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Thanks for this article. Hopefully one day everybody's lifestyle will be eco-sustainable.

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Ben Taylor 28 Feb 2017

I was convinced that London was the most expensive!

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Alan Read 28 Feb 2017

Australia are leading the way in this I think. The trouble with Britain is we don't get enough sun to make use of solar power.

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James Powell 27 Feb 2017

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DanHumphreys 27 Feb 2017

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Matt
Matt 20 Feb 2017

Is this fake news?

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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...

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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...

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