Lettings manager jailed for £138k fraud

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A lettings manager has been handed two and a half years behind bars following an investigation which found that she had stolen more than £138,000 from her former employer

Wendy Dare, from Lancashire, funnelled the stolen funds through numerous bank accounts, each managed by her, between May 2015 and December 2020.

In total, Dare pocketed around £138,000 whilst working as a lettings manager at a Chester-based estate agency. As part of her role, she had access to the company’s accounts.

In June of 2021, the estate agents were informed of an issue in which a payment of around £23,000 designated to one of their landlord clients could not be accounted for.

Following an internal investigation into the disappearances of the finances, it had been discovered that Dare had been repeatedly accessing the company accounts and transferring funds to accounts set up in the names of herself, her husband and their daughter.

Building upon the evidence provided, a further investigation into the financial records of Dara was launched by Chester CID.

It revealed that four accounts in the name of Dare and five in the name of her husband had been set up and a significant amount of cash had been distributed between them.

Around 37 transactions that exceeded £47,000 had been paid into accounts that belonged to fake landlords – which had all been set up by Dare.

The total loss as a result of the fraudulent transactions totalled £138,741.10. However, between 2016 to 2020, Dara managed to pay back £32,681.85 to the letting agent, leaving £106,059.25 outstanding.

Appearing at Chester Crown Court, Dare was charged with three counts of fraud by abuse of position and was ordered to repay £122,922.68 to her former employer. She was also sentenced to 28 months imprisonment.

She now has three months to pay the order or she will face a further custodial sentence, while still being liable to pay the order.

Jane Carruthers, accredited financial investigator of the economic crime unit, said: ‘Wendy Dare’s confiscation order sends a strong message that Cheshire Police takes the recovery of the proceeds of crime and loss to victims very seriously.

‘It highlights the importance of asset recovery considerations running throughout an investigation, to maximise the opportunities to recover significant sums derived from criminality in an effort to compensate victims of crime.

‘This sentencing and the subsequent confiscation order that has followed is a testament to the hard work of DC Andy Mason and DC Georgia Hughes, who led the investigation. Their tenacious and diligent approach to the investigation left no stone unturned in the pursuit of recovering this substantial amount of stolen funds.’

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