16:22 PM, 13th January 2012, About 10 years ago 1
Buy to let property club fraudsters who raised more than £1 million from selling shoddy properties at inflated prices have picked up jail sentences.
The con-men ran three property firms in the North West and scammed investors into parting with their cash on false promises of guaranteed rental incomes on below market value homes. The three men involved were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court.
Raymond Abramson, of Whitefield, Manchester, admitted conspiracy to defraud, trading while bankrupt and managing a company while an undischarged bankrupt. He was jailed for three years.
Mark Jopson, of Burnley, and John Edwards, of Bury, admitted conspiracy to defraud. Jopson was jailed for two years and seven months and Edwards was given 10 months in jail suspended for two years and must carry out 200 hours community service.
Charges of aiding and abetting a bankrupt engaging in trade and aiding and abetting an undischarged bankrupt in the management of a company against Jopson and Edwards remain on file.
The court heard the fraud raised more than £1million and involved 21 properties and 13 victims with Abramson as the ringleader under the alias Trevor Smith as he was a bankrupt.
The trio ran Sanderson Property Company, Robert Thornton Properties and Mark Jopson Properties from Kay Street, Bury. They would advertise buy to let homes for sale at below market value prices in newspapers.
Property investors were told European and government grants were available and regenerating the neighbourhoods where the homes were located that would show a quick rise in value of the properties. The company also claimed to guarantee rental income.
Property investors paid for refurbishments in advance and paid an inflated house price to reflect the guaranteed tenancy, which did not exist. Few houses had any refurbishment work carried out, and any improvements were less than the fee paid.
Detective Constable John Lonsdale, from Greater Manchester Police’s fraud investigation unit, said: “Their sales pitch was plausible and attractive to clients who had no reason to doubt they were anything but genuine.
“All the victims have lost something as a result of the defendants’ greed and many will not recoup their initial outlay as the houses are in poor areas and in varying states of disrepair.”
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