Letting agent Kari Ridout has been banned from acting as a company director for failing to protect thousands of pounds of deposits taken from private renters as her business failed.
Ridout collected £34,600 of deposits for 24 homes she was managing and spent the money on running her business instead of placing the cash in a deposit protection scheme.
She is banned from acting as a director or managing a company for six years, after an investigation by the government’s Insolvency Service.
Ridout, 46, opened her letting agency in Blandford Forum, Dorset, in 2013.
But her business soon ran into financial problems and the company entered into voluntary liquidation in May 2017.
In the last two years of trading, she collected the deposits from tenants but diverted the money to paying bills for her business rather than placing the money in a protected deposit scheme.
The missing money was uncovered by insolvency practitioners who tipped off the Insolvency Service.
Jane Knight, the Insolvency Service’s Deputy Head of Insolvent Investigations, said: “Kari Ridout failed to safeguard the deposits she was entrusted to hold onto, resulting in losses to both landlords and tenants.
“Her conduct fell short of what is required of a director of a limited liability company and her disqualification will act as a deterrent to others from similar conduct in the future.”
In a separate case, three men who ran Crestons, a letting agency in Islington, North London, were convicted of fraud against landlords and tenants.
A jury at Blackfriars Crown Court found them guilty of running a business for a fraudulent purpose after hearing how £105,000 relating to 19 tenancies went missing. The money was mainly deposits, and rents collected for landlords.
Mohammed Rayn Mashuk, Ahmed Ali Syed and Mohammed Ibrahim Ali denied carrying on business for a fraudulent purpose as officers of Sirs Associates Ltd trading as Crestons, but were convicted.
They were cleared of another offence of carrying on a business for a fraudulent purpose.
Sentencing will be in January.