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PRS Fraud Warning Re-Issued By NLA

PRS Fraud Warning Re-Issued By NLA

NLA Warning About Rental
Fraudsters Re-Issued

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has re-issued its 2010 warning to landlords, letting agents and tenants about online fraudsters operating in the UK’s private rental sector after resurgence of complaints over suspect practitioners.

The NLA began to receive a large number of complaints back in August 2010, concerning fraudsters who operate online, using popular free websites such as Gumtree to attract unwitting victims, and the landlord association has now started to receive a new wave of complaints.

The NLA investigated and uncovered several online rental property fraudsters who would trick tenants into paying them an advance fee to rent a property by using underhand tactics such as official landlord association branding or fake letters claiming to be from NLA local representatives to support their demand for up-front payments in order to lure their victims in to a false sense of security.

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Beware Of The Shits and Sharks! - Avoid Becoming A Victim Of Rogue Traders

Beware Of The Shits and Sharks! – Avoid Becoming A Victim Of Rogue Traders

Beware Of The Rogue Traders,
Shits And Sharks!

There are a number of rogue traders back in the property investment community as the UK property market picks up pace again following the financial crisis that saw all but the most serious property investors continue to purchase properties.

The emergence of rogue traders and dodgy dealers is nothing new in property investment industry as scammers try to part willing investors with their savings by offering property deals that don’t stack up, costly property investment educational courses and worthless seminars and workshops designed to provide some cover for a high pressure pitch fest full of ill conceived propaganda designed to trigger reckless spending.

There are a number of controversial rogue traders who have been exposed in recent years, however the threat of legal action prevents me from naming and shaming the latest batch of scammers that have been brought to our attention at the present time, but rest assured these rogue traders will be exposed among the property investment community very soon!

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Warning Over Gumtree Rental ScamsNational Landlords Association issues warning
over rental scams posted on Gumtree

The National Landlords Association (NLA) say they been contacted by a number of tenants who have become victims of fraud after a new wave of rental property scams started to appear on Gumtree, the free listing website. The NLA has issued a fresh warning to would be tenants concerning the number of rental scams posted online by fake landlords.

Would-be tenants from overseas are being lured to apply for a number of attractive rental property opportunities across the UK advertised among genuine listings on the website, and after a brief email and/or postal exchange, the applicants are then asked to send money directly to the landlord in order to secure the rental property.

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Mark Lawton, 45, from Town Moor in Doncaster, who acquired a £2million property portfolio, including luxury properties in Tenerife and across South Yorkshire, through fraud has been jailed for two years at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday.

Investigations revealed that Mark Lawton, 45, from Town Moor in Doncaster had committed a series of frauds from which he amassed a significant property portfolio. He owned 17 properties in Tenerife and across Doncaster, which were rented out, but for which he didn’t declare any profits. He also lied about his financial circumstances to obtain a loan by deception, as well as providing false income details in order to claim the education maintenance allowance for his son.

Although Lawton also owned the extensive property portfolio he had claimed that his family’s small tanning salon business only made him an income of around £10,000 per year. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) estimate that Lawton had defrauded the taxpayer out of £65,000 in unpaid taxes alone.

Lawton was caught when HMRC seized 10,000 illegal cigarettes which he had been selling and £50,000 in cash stored at his home and business premises. He was found guilty of fraud and failing to pay tax on his business profits.

Lawton pleaded guilty to charges of cheating the public revenue, evasion of excise duty and possession of criminal property (£50,000 cash). He was sentenced yesterday to 24 months imprisonment for cheating the public revenue, three months imprisonment for the evasion of excise duty – sentences to run concurrently. £50,420 cash was forfeited to the Crown for the charge of possession of criminal property. Lawton was also ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.

Lawton’s wife Christina was convicted of fraudulently claiming the education maintenance allowance for their children. The couple’s accountant Joanne Outram, 42, from Rossington was also convicted of helping the couple to prepare false documentation, to facilitate their claim for the education maintenance allowance payments.

Peter Hollier, Deputy Regional Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC said:

“Lawton made a significant effort to hide his business dealings from the authorities. He enjoyed the benefits of our public services and lived a lifestyle that many families work hard to achieve, but his activity was stealing vital public revenue. It is only fair to those hard working families that he has been brought to justice.”

Sentencing Mark Lawton yesterday His Honour Judge Kelson QC commented: “You and your wife were living well beyond your declared means. What you declared to the Revenue was far short of the correct figure – therefore you were enjoying a better lifestyle than that of honest people.”

The Judge also passed comment sentencing the couple’s accountant Joanne Outram stating: “You are a qualified accountant, a professional person and you did this for personal gain by keeping the custom of your client. The involvement by professional people by making claims on the state erodes the public confidence.”

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