Agency worker who embezzled over £50,000 is convicted – Property Industry Eye

A rogue letting agency worker who embezzled more than £50,000 from the company he worked for last year has been handed a suspended sentence.

Paul Cheriton, who worked for Hadlands in Amersham, took advantage of his position at the company to fraudulently obtain tens of thousands of pounds by working from home during the lockdown. This was done by diverting payments intended for owner customers to accounts he created and managed.

The agency, which has an office in Chesham Road, brought private charges against Cheriton, who worked in the accounts and finance department to avoid any risk of a police investigation.

Cheriton, from Kilwinning in Scotland, pleaded guilty to fraud by misrepresentation between August 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020.

He was sentenced to 250 hours of community service and received a two-year suspended prison sentence.

Simon Hadland, chief executive of the agency, commented: “Many businesses have struggled during the pandemic and this type of fraudulent activity is putting people’s livelihoods at risk.

“We took the unusual step of pursuing this matter privately to ensure that Mr. Cheriton could not do this to anyone else.”

“We have ensured that our customers are not affected by this fraud and all losses have been covered,” he added. “I would like to thank the JMW Solicitors team for their continued support in bringing Mr. Cheriton to justice.”

Reflecting on the case, Daniel Martin, Partner at JMW Solicitors, said: ‘Defendant exploited homework in order to get away with it longer than would otherwise be the case.

“As the company tried to adapt to working from home practices during the pandemic, it had no choice but to trust its workforce.

“He diverted payments intended for proprietary customers to accounts he had created with similar names to avoid detection.

“The company had to cover the losses itself to ensure that no customer would be affected.”

Martin also explained why the real estate agency filed private rather than public lawsuits

He added: “The company was concerned about widely reported delays in police investigations and low fraud prosecution statistics.

“They wanted to bring the matter to a head as quickly as possible to prevent it from continuing to offend, potentially targeting other small businesses.”


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