Letting agent scammers face the music for fraudulent trading

Two people who traded fraudulently through their business and scammed victims out of over £24,000 have been sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court (Friday 3 May).

After a lengthy and protracted investigation into the activities of a number of Letting agencies, the two defendants Sultana Akther, of Spencer Road, Rainham and Skeena Noor Rashid, of Herold Mugford Terrace, Pearl Close, Beckton, pleaded guilty to Fraudulent Trading. 

This was following numerous complaints linked to Signature London Ltd and Signature London Group Ltd for duping prospective tenants, landlords and existing tenants. 

Victims had rent deposits collected and never returned, holding funds stolen and – in the case of landlords – collected rents not being transferred into their accounts.

Akther and Rashid defrauded victims of at least £24,000 through a range of letting and rental scams.

The sentences given were as follows:

Sultana Akther (40) of Spencer Road, Rainham, RM13 8HD – 14 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months concurrent for each indictment and fined £2,000.00.

Skeena Noor Rashid (27) of Herold Mugford Terrace, Pearl Close, Beckton E6 5AA – 24 months community order (80 hours of unpaid work included).

The defendants were prosecuted following an investigation led by the National Trading Standards Regional Investigations Team, supported by officers from Barking and Dagenham Council.

Cllr Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement & Community Safety, said: “This case just goes to show that people who engage in criminal activity can run but they cannot hide.

“The accused may have thought they had a fool proof scam which would have made it difficult or impossible for people affected to recover their money. I want to thank our Trading Standards officers for sticking with it and ensuring justice is served.”

Trish Burls, Chair of the NTS Tri Regional Investigation Team said: 

“Taking advantage of first-time buyers, exploiting homeowners’ desires to move and disrupting the everyday practice of reputable landlords demonstrates the utter disregard the defendants had for the wellbeing of others.

“We are pleased to have been able to provide support to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Trading Standards team with this long-standing case. 

“This investigation highlights the value of partnership work between regional and local Trading Standards officers, and I hope that today’s result sends out a clear message that this type of offending will not be tolerated.”