Disgraced former boss of Redditch lettings agency must hand over remaining assets

THE disgraced former boss of a Redditch and Worcester-based lettings agency is to hand over his remaining assets of £11,000 after a criminal compensation hearing.

Brandon Weston, aged 43, the former owner of estate agent Premier Places, who once owned seven houses in Worcester and a house in France, has remaining available assets of £11,715, a court heard.

Chris Williams, aged 48, who admitted three counts of forgery in the same fraud, was ordered to pay £10,000.

Daniel White, acting on Weston's behalf in the Proceeds of Crime Application hearing at Worcester Crown Court, said there were two bank accounts which had been used to handle the mortgage for his house in France and the prosecution had been given a schedule of any other funds.

Weston was ready to sign waivers which would release money from the accounts, which have already been restrained by the prosecution so he could not use them.

"Once he signs the waiver, they can have every penny that's in them," Mr White said.

Weston was given six months to pay and faces six months jail if he defaults.

Mr White said the total benefits of the criminal conduct - money that passed through but not accumulated - amounted to nearly £160,000.

An earlier hearing scheduled for September last year did not take place because of difficulties selling the French property but it had now been sold.

He was unable to sell a Chrysler Voyager to raise more money because it had been repossessed, the court heard.

Weston, of White Ladies Aston, near Worcester, was sentenced to 12 months jail suspended for two years in September 2011 after he admitted four counts of fraud between April 2007 and February 2009. He used the money paid in for his tenants as deposits to finance other businesses instead of ring-fencing it.

Benjamin Williams, prosecuting, said most of the tenants had been reimbursed through an insurance scheme run by the National Approved Lettings Scheme. But there were others who had not received any money and he suggested a "small amount" of compensation might be in order.

Chris Williams, of Church Lane, Whittington, near Worcester, was given an eight month jail term in September, 2011, suspended for two years with an order to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work after he admitted three counts of forgery between June 1 2007 and February 28 2008. He forged an accountant’s signature to allow the fraud to take place.

Judge Richard Rundell refused an application by the prosecution to adjourn the case of Williams. He agreed with Malcolm Morse, defending, that the case had already gone on for a considerable time and a further delay would not be in the interests of justice.

Williams, the court heard, had available assets of £15,888.

The judge ordered that he should pay £10,000 straight out of a bank account and he was given 28 days to pay or face six months jail. The money will go to the insurance companies who paid out to reimburse the tenants.

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