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My tenants committed fraud


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Good Sunday everyone.

Yesterday I received a call from a guy living below the flat I rent and was told that my tenants had been advertising my flat on gumtree and taking deposits from poor victims.

One of the victims for some reasons smelled a rat AFTER handing the money over and went back there.

 

He didn't find my tenants in and spoke to the neighbour who gave him the bad news and my number.

He called me and I arranged to meet him at the flat accompanied by the police.

My tenants were in and opened the door.

 

They understood the game was up and gave the money back to the bloke.

At that point the officers said that it was a civil matter and didn't even take their names (???)

 

Rent was due a couple of days ago but not paid.

My tenants said they will pay next Thursday but i seriously doubt it.

Digging through the internet today I found that not only they had advertised my flat since the 16/01 but they also advertised the flat they were previously renting just before moving out.

 

So the previous landlord I spoke to when selecting tenants in December, was probably part of the gang.

They promised to leave my flat as soon as i want, but again I don't think they will.

 

My cruel hope is that they have taken other deposits and leave my flat.

If they don't, can I serve them notice of eviction?

 

I have a legal assured shorthold tenancy agreement of 6 months started in the middle of December.

Any ground to terminate the contract for criminal activity considering that the police said it is a civil matter?

 

Thanks!

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What they are doing is a [problem]

Getting deposits of people as many as they can to secure the property

 

I expect they will leave the flat shortly as their victims will have a moving in date

If i have helped in any way hit my star.

any advice given is based on experience and learnt from this site :-)

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That's what I was hoping for, but now they must feel very confident because the police just made them hand the money over and didn't even take their names.

My fear is that they haven't taken any other deposit and they don't pay any more rent.

And the question is: Considering that we are 2 months into the tenancy agreement, can I start eviction proceedings?

If yes, what's the first stage?

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Hi King

 

I don't see any mention of a Crime Reference Number given to you?

 

What I would suggest now this is only if you have taken screenshots and have the evidence of them advertising your and the previous property they rented.

 

Go to your local Police Station (and when the desk jockey at the front desk says its a civil matter) insist that you want to speak to the Inspector in Charge to make a Formal Complaint and you require a Crime Reference Number (and refer to there officers actions).

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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king12345, hopefully your AST (hopefully not verbal) contained the clause 'not to assign or sublet any part of the property' so you may get them with s8 g for breach of Contract with a crime number for 'obtaining money by deception'. Pity the expectant T did not press charges, which he can still do if his contact details are known to you/Police.

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There was a recent TV show about this and the Police were involved in this as well. It's not a civil matter it's fraud... does the tenancy have a clause about sub letting? Also the rules for evictions has recently changed. If you don't get it right it could cost you lots of money.

 

Ask them if they wish to end the tenancy of their own accord. If they agree get it in writing and witnessed..

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and leave a note to let me know, thank you.

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I think Watchdog ran a story about a similar trick going around on AirBnB, with people advertising flats they didn't own and just copying pictures from Estate Agent websites, then trying to put people into hugely inferior flats instead.

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Hi King

 

I don't see any mention of a Crime Reference Number given to you?

 

What I would suggest now this is only if you have taken screenshots and have the evidence of them advertising your and the previous property they rented.

 

Go to your local Police Station (and when the desk jockey at the front desk says its a civil matter) insist that you want to speak to the Inspector in Charge to make a Formal Complaint and you require a Crime Reference Number (and refer to there officers actions).

 

Thanks.

I have the crn that they gave me on the 101 call.

I have been to the police station, but the Sargent said that i am not the victim so there's nothing I can do.

Only the guy who handed the money over can press charges.

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king12345, hopefully your AST (hopefully not verbal) contained the clause 'not to assign or sublet any part of the property' so you may get them with s8 g for breach of Contract with a crime number for 'obtaining money by deception'. Pity the expectant T did not press charges, which he can still do if his contact details are known to you/Police.

 

Yes, the ast is all in writing and includes the non subletting clause as well as the non carrying out any illegal, criminal, immoral, vexatious, antisocial activity in or around the property.

The victim was just happy to get his money back.

I spoke to him at length yesterday trying to convince him to press charges, but he's such a nice guy he feels sorry for my tenants and their two children.

Crazy!

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the police officer is wrong, it is actually a crime not to report a criminal act and if one is being very picky he can get into trouble for misfeasance in a public office for doing nothing about it. However, the reality is there are too many crooks and not enough factilities to deal with every scrote who comes to their attention so he has taken a pragmatic approach to this problem and decided to pass the buck rather.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys, update...

She's run multiple "deposit collections" and done a runner.

A couple of nights ago I was called to attend a brawl where they were trying to load a van with their stuff and another victim tried to get their money back.

Victim was on the phone with the police while husband was shouting, screaming and kicking them about.

Police said it was a civil matter 😠

Eventually the victim got the money back and my tenants left (thankfully)

I followed them to a hotel without being seen and worked out what room they were in.

Went to the police station with the victim and again was told it's a civil matter because they got the money back.

Pointed out that they were shortchanged by £20 and copper said it's a minimal amount.

So I asked him £20 😂

I'm glad they've gone, now I expect a lot of other victims turning up in a couple of weeks when she said the tenancy was starting.

Despicable!

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Hi guys, update...

She's run multiple "deposit collections" and done a runner.

A couple of nights ago I was called to attend a brawl where they were trying to load a van with their stuff and another victim tried to get their money back.

Victim was on the phone with the police while husband was shouting, screaming and kicking them about.

Police said it was a civil matter 😠

Eventually the victim got the money back and my tenants left (thankfully)

I followed them to a hotel without being seen and worked out what room they were in.

Went to the police station with the victim and again was told it's a civil matter because they got the money back.

Pointed out that they were shortchanged by £20 and copper said it's a minimal amount.

So I asked him £20 😂

I'm glad they've gone, now I expect a lot of other victims turning up in a couple of weeks when she said the tenancy was starting.

Despicable!

 

"Went to the police station with the victim and again was told it's a civil matter because they got the money back."

 

I disagree (with both whoever they spoke to on the phone at the time, and with the officer at the police station you visited).

 

If they said to someone "give us money as a rent deposit" and it wasn't theirs's to rent as they were doing so to multiple victims & were intending to skip out anyway : that is demonstrably a "false representation"

 

"Fraud by false representation" doesn't require the fraud to succeed for there to be an offence ; Merely exposing another to risk of loss as a result of the false representation suffices for the offence to be made out.

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/section/2

S2.

Fraud by false representation

 

(1)A person is in breach of this section if he—

(a)dishonestly makes a false representation, and

(b)intends, by making the representation—

(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or

(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

 

(2)A representation is false if—

(a)it is untrue or misleading, and

(b)the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.

 

(3)“Representation” means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of—

(a)the person making the representation, or

(b)any other person.

 

(4)A representation may be express or implied.

 

(5)For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).

 

So, if they tried it on by posting on (let us say) gumtree, never actually speaking to a person about it, but still made a false representation ("seeking deposits" for a flat they weren't intending / able to let), they couldn't evade being prosecuted by saying:

"We never said it to anyone" : S2(2)(5) or

"No one actually lost any money" : S2(1)(b)(ii)

Sure it would be harder for the CPS to get a conviction but they could still prosecute.

 

In this case it appears there are multiple victims. The police could get a statement from you, the known victim, and the other tenant who called you saying "there is another victim of them here"

 

I'd be going back & asking to speak to the officer again (if you want to ask them to reconsider : take along a print out of the statute and ask them to look in their "points to prove". Alternatively speak to a supervisor / sergeant or ask to discuss a "failure of an officer to record a reported offence" with the duty inspector, & ask them to investigate the recording of the phone call too.

 

Given you've been fobbed off once by a Sergeant already : duty inspector, making the points I've made.

It may seem minor (£20 a time), but there are multiple victims, and it may well be they have done this before, and if they keep getting away with it : likely they'll do it again!

 

You can point out that word might get around that you can be prosecuted for doing it ..... It might discourage others, making it in the public interest for this to be investigated / prosecuted, if it is a fairly common dodge that people think they can get away with!

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Thanks Bazza, I pointed the fraud act to the officer and he said that arresting and charging them would have been pointless because cps would have dropped the case.

I even printed all evidence for them so they had two criminals served on a gold plate but nothing.

Now they've gone and without doubt they will start again (they used the same trick at their previous address in December).

I ask the officer if the reason for not helping was staff/cells shortage and paperwork.

He didn't say yes but he nodded and his eyes spoke better than words.

Someone will take the law in their own hands and there will be a murder, would that be a civil matter???

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Thanks Bazza, I pointed the fraud act to the officer and he said that arresting and charging them would have been pointless because cps would have dropped the case.

I even printed all evidence for them so they had two criminals served on a gold plate but nothing.

Now they've gone and without doubt they will start again (they used the same trick at their previous address in December).

I ask the officer if the reason for not helping was staff/cells shortage and paperwork.

He didn't say yes but he nodded and his eyes spoke better than words.

Someone will take the law in their own hands and there will be a murder, would that be a civil matter???

 

If the duty inspector does the same : complaint to the local PCC.

If the police feel the CPS will decide not to prosecute:

A) that's the CPS's call, not theirs

B) tell them you'll ask the PCC to look at the info supplied by the police to the CPS

The CPS's test is 2 fold

A) is their a realistic chance of a successful prosecution : the evidence suggests yes

B) is it in the public interest to prosecute ; One has to accept that the individual sum is low, but

i) there are a number of victims

ii) they may have done this at a number of addresses (info supporting this may help)

iii) the deterrence effect of prosecuting what seems to be an increasingly common "we won't get caught / prosecuted" fraud.

 

I'd push for it, on those grounds

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I'll wait until more victims show up, I know at least of another two who have handed money over.

At that point they won't be able to say that no money has been lost.

However, now we don't know their whereabouts so they'll probably get away with it

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi guys, update...

Three more victims showed up on the day they were supposed to take possession of the property that in the mean time I had rented again.

They all reported it to the police and they were all told to start a county court claim 😨

Question: We don't know where they've gone

Answer: That's your problem, you have to find them and sue them.

 

Incidentally I attended a neighborhood watch meeting with the chief inspector.

I told him: "These people have committed multiple fraud and you're not willing to help the victims"

Answer: "You have to be very careful accusing someone of such a serious crime, they can sue you and ruin your life 😱"

 

Anyway, after I insisted that something should be done, he agreed to look at all police reports with the reference numbers I gave him.

I later received a call from someone confirming that the cases are ongoing and someone from the action fraud team will contact all the victims directly.

Of course the old data protection act was mentioned several times as I am not the victim.

I explained that we have passport copies as well as three bank accounts details, benefit reference number and three mobile numbers two of which are on contract.

I suggested that with all these elements it could be not too complicated for the police to trace them, but again I was told that we have to wait for action fraud.

Frankly, I haven't lost any money, but i have seen a grown up man with two children cry in front of me because he had given up his flat to move to mine only to find out that he had been conned and had nowhere to go.

It really hurt me.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi guys, little update on this.

We received court summons for unpaid council tax and duly sent it back explaining that they'd gone.

Yesterday I received a strange telephone call from a woman claiming of being a police officer and she said that they were investigating a missing family, the [problematic]!

I laughed and told her that they were not missing but they'd legged it with a large amount of money, having maxed all their cards and taking deposits.

She didn't want to take the ref numbers down.

I suspect she was not a police officer but a dca digging through their whereabouts.

Question is , how did they get my number?

The tenants have returned to their country and I know this by their bank statement as they withdrew their last pennies from abroad.

So they got away and are probably living in luxury, until they come back, do it all over again and leg it once more.

Fully protected by the system.

Great!

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Yesterday I received a strange telephone call from a woman claiming of being a police officer and she said that they were investigating a missing family, the ****mers!

 

Any caller ID on that incoming call?.

 

Anyone that calls me and says "I'm a police officer" gets to carry on the conversation until they ask me something ;)

 

At that point they get asked for a number to call them back on, and their shoulder number, station / office, and service (not allowed to call them "force" anymore!). However, don't use the phone number they give you, but do note it.

If it turns out legit, you can use it in future. If it isn't legit you can give it to the police ......

 

Then call the central Comms number for the service ..... Asking for the officer by name / number / station (or office...)

Do this on the number for the force you find on the Internet (or by asking to be put through from dialling 101, if that number doesn't answer out of hours), and from a different phone

(So you can't be given a spoof contact number, and not have the original line "held open" by a [EDIT]).

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Yesterday I received a strange telephone call from a woman claiming of being a police officer and she said that they were investigating a missing family, the [problematic]!

[...]

I suspect she was not a police officer but a dca digging through their whereabouts.

 

Impersonating a police officer is an offence and would land her in serious trouble. Don't suppose she left any contact details that you could pass on to a genuine officer ?

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Private number .

I didn't ask for her collar number.

Shame!

 

"Collar number" : those were the days! 😝

Even my use of "shoulder number" and "force" denotes me 'to be of a certain age'!

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apart from their collar number all police officers have a warrant number and a PIN. The warrant number is the one they were issued when they got their warrant card as they passed out of police college. It stays with them for life. Their PIN is a number that goes with their rank, station etc and can change as they move about.

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apart from their collar number all police officers have a warrant number and a PIN. The warrant number is the one they were issued when they got their warrant card as they passed out of police college. It stays with them for life. Their PIN is a number that goes with their rank, station etc and can change as they move about.

 

Nonsense!

Collar numbers back in the good old days 😁

My god, I'm getting sooooo old!

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  • 6 months later...

Update on this thread which I thought had seen its last day.

Yesterday police attended my property and asked for previous tenants.

Current tenant phoned me in panic and I told her to show the tenancy agreement and passport to copper.

They were happy to go away with my telephone number for further enquires.

Got a call in the afternoon and was asked to go to police station to drop letters we had been receiving for previous tenants who have now moved abroad (yes, I opened their bank statement and breached dpa, not sorry about that).

I went to the police station and guess who's there waiting for me?

The same copper who attended that famous night and insisted it was a civil matter.

Now they've had reports of fraud from 16 people, 2 court cases for unpaid council tax and a warrant of arrest for benefit fraud.

Strangely though, they're still receiving council tax benefit, child tax credit, housing benefit etc. despite I reported them over 6 months ago.

I kind of teased the copper by insisting that this was a civil matter and repeated it several times.

Every time she said no, this is not a civil matter, I said you said that at the time, did you make a mistake?.

Eventually she admitted of making a mistake.

I wished her good luck finding someone in eastern Europe and left.

I cannot believe it!

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