13th May 2024

Rogue letting agents sentenced

Fraudsters who scammed tenants and landlords have been brought to justice.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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This investigation highlights the value of partnership work between regional and local Trading Standards officers

A pair of fraudulent letting agents who scammed victims out of more than £24,000 have been brought to justice following action by Barking and Dagenham Trading Standards and the National Trading Standards Tri Regional Investigation Team.

Investigations began into Signature London Ltd and Signature Group Ltd following numerous complaints from prospective tenants, landlords and existing tenants in the London borough.

Victims’ rent deposits were collected and never returned, holding funds were stolen and – in the case of landlords – collected rents were not transferred into their accounts.

Sultana Akther (40), of Spencer Road, Rainham and Skeena Noor Rashid (27), of Herold Mugford Terrace, Pearl Close, Beckton, pleaded guilty to Fraudulent Trading offences and were sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 3 May.

Akther was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months concurrent for each indictment, and fined £2,000.00.

Rashid was given a 24-month community order, including 80 hours of unpaid work.

Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement & Community Safety, said: “This case just goes to show that people who engage in criminal activity can run but they cannot hide.

“The accused may have thought they had a fool proof scam which would have made it difficult or impossible for people affected to recover their money. I want to thank our Trading Standards officers for sticking with it and ensuring justice is served.”

Trish Burls, Chair of the NTS Tri Regional Investigation Team said: “Taking advantage of first-time buyers, exploiting homeowners’ desires to move and disrupting the everyday practice of reputable landlords demonstrates the utter disregard the defendants had for the wellbeing of others.

“We are pleased to have been able to provide support to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Trading Standards team with this long-standing case.

“This investigation highlights the value of partnership work between regional and local Trading Standards officers, and I hope that today’s result sends out a clear message that this type of offending will not be tolerated.”

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