A letting agent whose firm went bust owing £382,000 has been jailed for a year after admitting stealing from clients.
Greenwood Estates, a letting agent and estate agent trading in Rugby, Warwickshire, went in to liquidation last November.
After the business ran in to financial problems and ceased trading, the accounts revealed the sole director and shareholder, Stephen Greenwood, 55, of Drapers Field, Coventry, had stolen £69,518 from landlords and tenants.
At Warwick Crown Court, he admitted four fraud charges and requested a further 59 taken in to consideration.
As he jailed Greenwood for a year, Judge Charles Harris QC said: “This is a sad case, because you come from a good background. It is difficult to see how cases of this kind can be dealt with other than by a custodial sentence.”
The court heard Greenwood Homes opened as a letting agent and estate agent in Regent Street, Rugby, in 1985.
Although some landlords and tenants had concerns about the way Greenwood Homes handled their cash before the firm ceased trading, after the agency closed, it was clear Greenwood had diverted rents to his own bank account instead of paying landlords.
Greenwood told police investigating the fraud that he was owed money in Spain that was unpaid and to try and pay bills, he juggled cash between accounts.
In his defence, barrister Matthew Brook said: “Mr Greenwood is a broken man. He finds himself without a home, without a job and without a relationship.”