A council chief has spoken out in support of landlords who lost money to a “despicable fraudster” who is now in prison and has been banned from being a company director.
Francis Smart, 46 and the proprietor of Smart Residential Letting Agents in Suffolk, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in respect of retaining rent and deposits under S1 Fraud Act 2006 some two years ago after it emerged that he had broken the law by pocketing tenancy deposits instead of placing these into a Deposit Protection Scheme.
He was subsequently sentenced to 32 months per offence, to run concurrently, by a judge at Ipswich Crown Court last summer, who commented that Smart’s actions were “particularly sad” adding that he had “betrayed those who trusted you and caused a lot of distress”.
Now Trading Standards has banned Smart from being a director for the next eight years and Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk council’s cabinet member for public health and public protection, says: “I am continuously grateful to officers from Suffolk Trading Standards for their tireless work to rid our county of rogue traders, enabling residents to remain protected and creating a level playing field for legitimate businesses.
“Securing justice against Francis Smart is the latest in a long line of successful court cases for the team, and I have no doubt that their actions have stopped landlords, including those who bought an investment property to fund their retirement, from facing any further losses from a despicable fraudster who didn’t think twice about blatantly disregarding the law.”
Graham Crisp, head of Suffolk Trading Standards, adds: “[The] ruling also means that Smart is not allowed to be involved in the forming, marketing or running of a company for the same time period, which should bring some comfort to his clients who lost thousands of pounds due to his lies and deceit, and that he will not be able to repeat these actions once out of prison.”
Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.