Estate agent jailed for swindling customers

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A Dales estate agent who kept her tenants’ deposits and pumped the cash into her failing businesses has been jailed.

Helen Gregory, 55, of Valley Road, Spital, Chesterfield, was sentenced to ten months in prison when she appeared at Derby Crown Court today (April 29).

Gregory – who owned three estate agencies which operated in Derbyshire – admitted three charges of engaging in unfair commercial practices in August last year.

At the time, Gregory’s sentencing was delayed by six months, following reassurances that she would be able to repay the £67,000 owed to identified victims.

But the court heard that no money has yet been repaid to victims – despite over £40,000 being paid into her account by another business in December 2014 and January 2015.

Judge John Burgess said: “There are victims who are quite understandably furious. Not just that they lost their money, but the case has been strung-out for two years or more.

“It sticks in the throat that someone could buy themselves out of a custodial sentence.”

Jailing Gregory, Judge Burgess added: “This is a case of promises, promises, promises being made and not kept.”

Gregory was jailed for 10 months, and told she wills serve half-of-that in custody. She was also banned from working as a company director for six years.

A proceeds of crime hearing has been set for September 10.