This is the face of fraudster and former estate agent Zhaker Darvesh who has been jailed for 13 months after conning six tenants out of £12,300.
The 29-year-old ran a sophisticated scam during which he listed properties for rent scraped off agents’ websites, took rental deposits of between £900 and £3,600 from each victim before disappearing with the cash.
Darvesh targeted Europeans arriving in the UK to work and in one case left his victim outside the property with all their belongings.
The homes were in Canary Wharf and Leyton in East London to which Darvesh had keys following his brief career as a local sales and letting agent.
But eventually Action Fraud was alerted by a string of complaints about his criminal activities and he was identified and arrested.
“Zhaker Darvesh acted as a rookie estate agent dishonestly collecting deposits for flats in east London,” says Toyin Akinyemi from the Crown Prosecution Service.
“He drafted fake contracts and kept in contact with customers answering their queries and discussing move-in dates, before ‘ghosting’ them after receiving payments.”
Ghosting is when someone only communicates via social media or email and then suddenly stops replying to messages.
“The rental property market in London is highly competitive given that supply is short and demand is high – and the defendant was fully aware of the opportunity to exploit those seeking to secure rented accommodation in East London and did so without hesitation,” says Akinyemi.
During his trial Darvesh said his scam was designed to pay off a £25,000 debt he had run up buying drugs.