An estate agent who fled to India leaving creditors, tenants and staff thousands of pounds out of pocket has been locked up for 20 months.
Manish Manek, 54, owned Je Je Barons, an estate agents in Kingston between 2008 and 2012, and told his staff that he was going to hospital to have a tumour removed from his liver and would not return until he had recovered.
However, the scheming business man instead sold his house and flew to India. He left with nearly £18,500 worth of debt owed not only to his staff who had not been paid, but also to creditors who complained to police that they were unable to contact him.
An investigation revealed that Manek stole over £47,000 from his clients through his business over four years.
He had been putting landlord and tenant deposits and rents into his personal account rather then the approved government Deposit Protection Scheme.
The 54-year-old of no fixed address, was arrested in September 2014 as he tried to return to the UK and was later charged with 17 counts of theft.
Detective Constable Paul Lawlor, from Kingston CID, said: “Manek stole from the very people who were paying him to manage their properties and keep his business running.
“He blamed his criminal activities on his huge debt, his ill health and the health of family members. Regardless what his personal circumstance may have been, it does not justify resorting to criminal activities thinking it is an easy route out.
“Because of his actions, Manek is not only serving a custodial sentence in jail but has also lost the reputation he once had within his community.”
He was found guilty of 17 counts of theft and sentenced 20 months in jail at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday (2).