Kingston Crown Court has ordered convicted letting agent Chandra Patel to pay his former clients a total of £25,000, after he used their money to cover his debts.
Mr Patel, who was sentenced in April to 10 months imprisonment, took rent and deposit payments worth £28,000 whilst trading as Giraffe Properties Limited, according to Kingston Council .
More than a dozen landlords were owed money when he ceased trading, and some had to repay tenants’ deposits themselves. On February 1, Kingston Crown Court decided Mr Patel should reimburse them.
“This sends a clear message that it is the perpetrator, not the victim, who pays for the cost of crime in Kingston,” Kingston Council’s Portfolio Holder for Trading Standards Councillor Andy Johnson-Creek said in a press release.
“We are committed to achieving justice for victims and our membership of the South London Legal Partnership, and the sharing of trading standards expertise with Sutton Council, means we have the resource to match our desire, to make fraudsters like Mr Patel pay.
“We have begun the process of contacting the landlords affected by Mr Patel’s illegal activities so that they can be duly compensated.”
The council said that including court costs, Mr Patel has three months to pay a total sum of £37,130.85 or face 30 months imprisonment.