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Estate agent banned from being director after clients lose £28,000

Jane Russell ran Ipswich agency for eights years but it collapsed in 2018 and investigators found she had used deposits and rent to keep it going.

Nigel Lewis

An estate agent based in Essex has been banned from being a director of a company for five years following an investigation by the Insolvency Service into the collapse of her business.

Frinton-on-Sea based 58-year-old Jane Hipkin Russell used to run Jonathan Waters Estate Agents Limited in nearby Ipswich (pictured) but the company collapsed in August 2018 blaming difficult trading conditions.

Russell had bought the company in 2014 from its founder after working there for several years as an employee.

Following calls for justice at the time of her business’s collapse, an investigation into the financial affairs of the company by the Insolvency Service was launched.

It found that Russell, who was the sole director of the company, had failed to lodge 11 tenants’ deposits worth £20,000 with an authorised protection service, and had used rental payments due to landlords totalling £7,000 to help keep the company afloat.

The total money that tenants and landlords therefore lost when the business became insolvent totalled £28,000.

Following the investigation, Russell has now accepted an undertaking not to be a company director for the next five years, which includes directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

“A fundamental part of Jane Russell’s role was being responsible for safeguarding money on behalf of her tenants and landlords, something she failed to do prior to the company falling into liquidation,” says Rob Sheils, Senior Investigator for the Insolvency Service

“This disqualification should serve as a deterrent to other directors who safeguard money from doing likewise.”

 

February 12, 2020

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