East Londoners who conned £24K out of tenants and landlords in letting and rental scams sentenced

Two East Londoners who took rent deposits from tenants and never returned them and failed to transfer rents they had collected for landlords have been sentenced. Sultana Akther and Skeena Noor Rashid defrauded £24,000 from victims through a range of letting and rental scams.

Akther, of Spencer Road, in Rainham, and Rashid, of Herold Mugford Terrace, in Pearl Close, Beckton, pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading at Snaresbrook Crown Court last Friday (May 3). A number of complaints had been linked to two letting agencies, Signature London Ltd and Signature London Group Ltd after tenants had rent deposits that were collected and never returned, while landlords weren't paid collected rents into their accounts.

Barking and Dagenham Council supported the National Trading Standards (NTS) Regional Investigations Team with a "lengthy and protracted" investigation that resulted in Akther and Rashid being prosecuted. Akther, aged 40, was handed a 14 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months concurrent for each indictment and was also fined £2,000.

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Rashid, aged 27, was given a 24 months community order which included 80 hours of unpaid work. Syed Ghani, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety at the council, 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.

He added: "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 well-being 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."

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