Jailed: Ilford estate agent fraudster who duped renters at Canary Wharf out of £12,000 in deposits
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An estate agent who conned six victims into handing over cash as for deposits to rent properties in east London which he wasn’t entitled to has been jailed for 13 months.
Fraudster Zhaker Darvesh, 29, raked in more than £12,000 for deposits on luxury flats in Canary Wharf and in Leyton.
The 29-year-old from Audley Gardens in Seven Kings appeared in the dock at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday to be sentenced after having admitted six charges of fraud at a previous hearing.
He had advertised the flats last year on the Gumtree property website.
Darvesh duped his victims by meeting and showing them round the properties in Hertmere Road, overlooking Canary Wharf's North Dock, and three properties in Leyton, agreeing to rent them out when he wasn't entitled to.
The swindler pocketed deposits from each of his victims, between £950 and £3,600 a time.
Darvesh would stop responding to phone calls, emails or messages once he had the money.
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His victims, none of them known to each other, all separately reported the swindles to Action Fraud, the national Fraud and Cyber crime reporting centre. A police investigation found that Darvesh was the common link.
"Darvesh acted as a rookie estate agent," the Crown Prosecution's Toyin Akinyemi said. "He dishonestly collected deposits for flats, drafted fake contracts and kept in contact with customers answering their queries and discussing move-in dates, then 'ghosting' them after receiving payments.
"Some victims were left standing outside the flats on their move-in date only to find that they had been duped.
"He was fully aware of the opportunity to exploit those seeking to secure rented accommodation in east London and did so without hesitation."
The rental property market is highly competitive, given that supply is short and demand is high, prosecutors point out.
It was "a planned, deliberate fraud" led by Darvesh's "greed for money", prosecutors said. But it caused significant stress to victims who needed accommodation.
The CPS has vowed to "take fraudsters to court to face justice" where there is the evidence.
Darvesh obtained keys to one flat while working as an estate agent at Outlook Property and another after renting it out for himself under his own company Ariana Estates, it emerged.
He snared one victim at Canary Wharf out of £3,600 for an bogus deposit, £3,200 from another and £2,668 from a third.