8:59 AM, 25th October 2011, About 12 years ago
A jailed letting agent who stole cash from landlords to fund his ailing business risks another 15 months in prison if he fails to pay his victims £44,000 compensation in the next 12 weeks.
Stephen Greenwood, 55, was sent to prison for 12 months in February after admitting four fraud charges at Warwick Crown Court.
He was arrested after his firm, Greenwood Homes, based in Rugby, Warwickshire, collapsed in November 2009 owing £382,000.
Greenwood had asked the court to consider 59 more fraud offences and admitted stealing £69,518 from landlords to finance his business.
When he was jailed, the court ordered an investigation in to Greenwood’s finances with an aim of finding some of the missing cash.
Back in court, Judge Robert Orme heard that Greenwood had benefitted from his crimes by just over £78,000.
His assets – including a car and expensive Rolex and Cartier watches – are valued at £43,910.
The judge ordered their confiscation and sale – with any money raised going to compensation for Greenwood’s victims. If the compensation is not paid within three months, Greenwood faces a further 15 months in jail.
Greenwood’s crimes were revealed after landlords were not paid rents collected from tenants for several months.
Landlords received statements showing bank transfers of rents from Greenwood Homes, but none of the cash arrived in their accounts, prompting complaints to police.
Some landlords lost between £7,800 and £11,500 in rents for several properties over a number of months.
Greenwood told police his financial problems stemmed from debtors in Spain owing him money. To try to keep his business going, he took money from different clients accounts to pay personal and business bills.
“Mr Greenwood is a broken man. He had built up a reputation and a business over decades and that is in ruins,” said Matthew Brook, defending, at the hearing in February.