An estate agent who had fallen on hard times has been jailed for 12 months, after being found guilty of stealing up to £70,000 from his clients.
Stephen Greenwood, a Coventry estate agent pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud at Warwick crown court.
The 55 year old pleaded guilty to more than £19,000 worth of fraud against his clients, and requested that 59 counts of similar fraud be taken into consideration.
Greenwood has been sentenced for stealing rental repayments for properties he managed for his clients.
The estate agent had been running a letting agency in Rugby since 1985, which saw him fall on hard times when a Spanish property investment failed to pay him on time.
Prosecutor Michael Hanning told the court that Greenwood attempted to rejuvenate his faltering business by “Robbing Peter to pay Paul”, by using the rent from the properties he managed to fund his business.
Greenwood issued fake statements to his clients, claiming the money had been paid to the homeowners of their property.
Greenwood’s conniving plan came undone towards the end of 2009, when his business went into liquidation owing £329,000.
Greenwood claims that he planned to repay his clients once he had received the payment owed to his apparent Spanish investment.
Judge Charles Harris sympathised with Greenwood when he said; “This is a sad case, because you come from a good background and are an intelligent man. It is difficult to see how cases of this kind can be dealt with other than by a custodial sentence.”
On top of his prison sentence, Greenwood has also been slapped with a four year working ban as a company director.