15:58 PM, 18th August 2011, About 12 years ago
Landlords who let homes they have previously lived in are urged to tidy up their finances and redirect mail before they leave to prevent identity theft.
The warning came from a judge after a tenant faced a court charged with fraud and theft after a landlord stumbled across a demand from a credit card company for more than £10,000 for borrowing he had not requested.
The card was sent to the address, followed by a PIN card, as the credit card lender believed the landlord still lived there.
The tenant, Michael Wild, 47, who had a £62,000 Jaguar parked on the drive with a personalised registration, claimed he was struggling financial and only spent on the card to pay bills and to buy food.
York Crown Court heard that some of the spending was for new tyres on his girlfriend’s Audi TT sports car.
In defence, the court was also told that Wild intended to pay the money back.
Judge Stephen Ashurst, the Recorder of York, said: “I do not accept that”.
Landlord Paul Hardiment found the credit card letters when visiting his buy to let property rented by Wild. Wild’s rent payments were in arrears and the landlord was taking legal action to recover his property.
The judge remarked Mr Hardiment must have found the circumstances “extremely galling” as he had taken court action to recover unpaid rent from Wild, and then found statements in his own name on the doorstep.
The judge said: “This is while seeing a £62,500 Jaguar with Mr Wild’s personalised number plate on the drive. This is a high-living case. Let’s call a spade by a spade.”
Wild admitted fraud and theft of £10,162 and was sentenced to four months jail suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 150 hours of community work.
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