Plymouth estate agent Paul Rosendale gambled away £12,000 of tenants deposits
A CROOKED estate agent pocketed £12,000 in deposits from new tenants and spent the money on his gambling habit.
Paul Rosendale should have set aside the cash in a special bond scheme so it was kept safe for customers but instead he kept it for himself, a court was told.
Rosendale, 42, of Lipson Vale, Plymouth, admitted five counts of theft and was jailed for six months, suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 120 hours unpaid community work.
At Exeter Crown Court, Recorder Mr David Bartlett told him: "You were paid these deposits for various properties and should have passed them on to a secure authority but you kept them for your own devices.
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"I am mindful of your present circumstances in which you are a full-time carer for your partner and that you have no money. For that reason I don't make a compensation order."
Jonathan Barnes, prosecuting, said Rosendale ran an agency called Torbay Residential Lettings and should have passed on deposits to the Deposit Protection Service but instead pocketed around £12,000.
He said the losers are mainly the tenants who should have been able to reclaim the money when they moved but are now unable to do so.
Mr Barnes said: "When he was interviewed he accepted the money had not been paid to the Protection Service and said he had spent it. He said some had gone on wages and some on personal expenditure, particularly gambling."
Paul Dentith, defending, said Rosendale had hoped to be able to repay the tenants from the deposits paid by later customers, but this had not been possible.
He said the deposit scheme was not compulsory at the time and his client got into trouble because he had no experience of running the business, which he took over at short notice from his partner.
He said he is now living on benefits and acting as her full time carer.