A 36 year-old letting agent at a Leaders branch in Liverpool who conned landlords out of £16,500 has to repay just £850 after admitting to being ‘ashamed’ of his criminality.
Saleem Kassim invented ‘necessary maintenance work’ at properties he managed – pocketing the £16,500 he was given to complete the work, it has been revealed in court.
Landlords of three properties the letting agent managed were, on seven occasions between 2016 and 2018, told that work was needed on their central heating.
However, the maintenance requirements were bogus and Kassim paid the money from the invoices into his own bank account to pay off debts.
Hi barrister Philip Tully told the court: “It is no excuse, but the simple reason my client found himself committing this offence was that he found himself in debt – he acted in a foolish and out of character way.
“Mr Kassim clearly is ashamed and left his employment because he couldn’t cope with the fact it would be discovered. He is genuinely remorseful– so ashamed that he hasn’t been able to share these matters with his family. He’s a family man who accepts what he’s done wrong. I ask your honour to give him a chance.”
Sentencing Kassim, Judge Driver said: “You’ve said if you don’t go to prison today you intend to repay the money, but I don’t believe you. You defrauded customers out of £16,500 when you were in a position of trust. But you are a hard-working family man with three young children, and this is a case in which there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”
This is your one and only chance – if I see you again you’re going to prison.
Kassim’s replacement at Leaders uncovered the swindle after the conman left the company. Kassim was spared jail after admitting fraud, with a 12-month imprisonment order suspended for a year, local media report.
Now a taxi driver, he returned to court on 1st November where Recorder Terence Rigby imposed a confiscation order of £850 with 28 days to pay. If he doesn’t, he will serve a week in prison. He also received a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 15 days and 70 hours of unpaid work.
“The behaviour of this individual goes completely against the values of the company, we work hard to secure the trust of our landlords by offering expert guidance and a proactive service,” says Leaders Lettings MD, Emma Wells (left)
“This activity was reported as soon as we became aware of it and we took appropriate action internally. Our clients can rest assured that this was a disappointing but isolated incident, and their investments are fully protected.”