A Southampton lettings agency owner has received a two-year prison sentence amid defrauding landlords and tenants out of £230,000.
Andrew Whitehead pleaded guilty at Southampton Crown Court to failing to return deposits to tenants and passing on rent to landlords, according to Southern Daily Echo.
The court was told Whitehead used the money towards loans, mortgages and car finance as well as his own business and personal expenditure.
Whitehead’s firms, The Flat Agency and Michael Brown, Property Vibe and TFAAMB.com – where he was the sole director, were expelled from The Property Ombudsman after failing to pay compensation awarded to those who complained to the Ombudsman successfully.
It is reported Whitehead forged a bank statement, which he used to show his clients deposits were protected.
Whitehead pleaded guilty to three counts of fraudulently trading, one count of forging a bank statement and four counts of using forged bank statements.
Councillor Jacqui Rayment, cabinet member for Place and Transport told Southern Daily Echo Whitehead’s actions showed “complete disregard for the financial well being of both his landlords and tenants.”
“This conviction will hopefully give some moral satisfaction to the victims of Mr Whitehead,” she added.