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Court orders agent who stole £221,000 from landlords and tenants to repay just £50

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A Proceeds of Crime case has resulted in the recovery of just £50 out of £221,000 stolen from members of the public by a crooked letting agent.

Martin Marcus was jailed for four and a half years last July at Harrow Crown Court.

His victims were dozens of tenants and landlords who lost rents and deposits.

Marcus, who admitted five counts of fraud following a complex four-year investigation by Barnet Council’s Trading Standards Team, had fronted a string of letting agencies and used numerous aliases between 2009 and 2015 to pocket the cash.

Barnet has now gone back to court in a Proceeds of Crime hearing, with the confiscation order made on February 1.

On Monday this week, Trading Standards officer Jack Dowler emailed Marcus’s victims, saying: “Unfortunately despite an in-depth investigation by our financial investigation team, we were unable to identify any assets for Mr Marcus.

“Therefore the court were only able to impose a nominal amount. We are very disappointed in this as we had hoped to be able to recover some of the money that Mr Marcus fraudulently appropriated.

“I am sorry that I do not have a more positive outcome in this matter.”

One of his victims who expressed fury is a landlord owed more than £40,000 and whose rental property had been designed to fund care bills for the person who is now her late mother.

She said : “The order is a total disrespect to many of those who fell victims of Mr Marcus fraud.”

She also queried why it had taken Barnet Council almost two months to inform the victims.

EYE has also invited Barnet Council to comment.

Marcus repeatedly offered tenants properties he had no right to let out, took deposits from multiple tenants for the same property, moved in different tenants than those promised, and used a variety of methods and excuses to hold on to thousands in deposits and rents.

Prior to sentencing, the court heard impact statements from victims describing how the scam had left some of them tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket, and some without a home.

Marcus used a number of company names including JMG Residential, Interlocate, Corporate Relocation and Churchill Residential, while aliases included the names Jeffrey Lewis, Martin Champ and Robert Martin.

In some cases, other letting agents had complained to Marcus about him lifting photos of properties they were advertising, and then marketing the properties himself.

At last year’s six-week trial, four other defendants, Nadim Khan, Michael Page, James Day and Stacey Heffernan, were found not guilty of the same charges and Marcus’s wife Corinne Marcus was acquitted of a charge of money laundering.

Serial fraudster who ran string of letting agencies jailed for four and a half years

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Source:: Court orders agent who stole £221,000 from landlords and tenants to repay just £50