Online estate agent Claire Louise Ainsworth has been convicted of fraud totalling £5,000 in her absence after failing to turn up to court.
The online agency she runs is based in the Lancashire town of Oswaldtwistle and redirects its website to Rightmove microsite where it lists nearly 60 properties, and has sponsored several local events in the past.
The 35-year-old was accused of fraud by false representation after pocketing £5,000 while brokering a house sale, a charge her legal representative says she denies.
The hearing at Blackburn Magistrates Court (pictured, above) heard that Ainsworth told the vendor of a property that an offer of £80,000 had been received, but told the prospective purchaser the asking price was £85,000 and, when the sale went through, she took the £5,000 difference for herself.
The court heard also heard that she told the buyer to pay £80,000 online to the vendor’s solicitor and £5,000 in cash to herself.
After hearing evidence and representations from her defence and the prosecution, magistrates have now convicted of the fraud and she will be sentenced at a later date.
Ainsworth did not turn up to the hearing. Paolo Passerini, defending, said on the day of the trial his client had been in hospital with her child who had suddenly been taken ill.
He said she had contacted the court and had been waiting for a new trial date.