Over almost three years a former lettings manager scammed her company out of £34,000.
Karen Blakey, 52, admitted four fraud charges and three of false accounting between 2012 and 2015. She pleaded guilty to the offences at Grimsby Crown Court, where a judge heard that she collected deposits on properties to rent from tenants but did not tell her employer or place them with a deposit protection scheme. Blakey worked for 16 years running the administration for letting agents Grice & Hunter in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.
“The defendant’s employer had no record of these properties being rented out and the defendant’s employers had not received any of the deposits,” said prosecutor Richard Davies. “They had not been lodged with the deposit protection scheme.”
An audit at the firm revealed at least 20 homes for rent were involved in Blakey’s scam. The court was also told that Blakey regularly altered documents and took money over three years without the knowledge of her employer. Defending, Jayne Bryan explained Blakey’s son was violent towards her after his father left them and she took the money from her employer to pay him when he demanded cash from her. Recorder Jamie Hill QC said: “By taking £34,000 you put yourself in a position where you were likely to be sent to prison.
“The offences fall into ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ You betrayed the trust of the company you worked for. There was potential for vulnerable tenants to lose out.”
Blakey was jailed for 16 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £34,611 compensation and to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.