Property sales fraud: investigation and prosecutions

In July 2013, 3 individuals, having pleaded guilty, were sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court in connection with fraudulent property sales. In June 2014, Confiscation Orders totalling £72069.80 were issued against 2 of those individuals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Case reference: CRE/9602/12

Update 6 June 2014

At a hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Wednesday 4 June 2014 Confiscation Orders totalling £72069.80 were made against Mr and Mrs Kelly under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Mr and Mrs Kelly have a maximum of six months to pay their part of the sum and should either fail to do so they may be sentenced to a 15 month term of imprisonment in default.

Prohibition Orders against Mr and Mrs Kelly and a Warning Order against Mr Butts, issued by the Office of Fair Trading under the Estate Agents Act 1979, have also taken effect.

Read the press release: National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) confirm prohibition and warning orders under the Estate Agents Act 1979 have taken effect and confiscation action taken by the CMA against former estate agent and his wife

Update 22 July 2013

Three individuals appeared before Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Thomas Francis Kelly pleaded guilty to three charges of Fraud by abuse of position under the Fraud Act 2006 and two charges of making a false instrument under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. On 22 July 2013 he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months and a Community Supervision Order to include 180 hours unpaid work.

Samantha Jayne Kelly pleaded guilty to three charges of Fraud by abuse of position under the Fraud Act 2006 and one charge of making a false instrument under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. On 22 July 2013 she was sentenced to a six months’ Supervision Order.

Andrew Stephen Butts pleaded guilty to one charge of Fraud by abuse of position under the Fraud Act 2006. On 22 July 2013 he was sentenced to a 12 months Conditional Discharge.

The OFT are committed to ensuring that the estate agency market works well for consumers and that consumers can be confident that individuals who are unfit to engage in estate agency are prevented from doing so and from causing significant consumer harm. We are considering action in light of the convictions detailed above.

This includes under our general duty to supervise and enforce the Estate Agents Act 1979, as well as under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. 

We would expect to publicise any further action taken in due course.

Update 13 June 2013

Following an OFT investigation into suspected fraud at a West Midlands based branch of Connells Estate Agents, Mrs Samantha Jayne Kelly, today pleaded guilty to three offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and to one offence under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act. Andrew Stephen Butts pleaded guilty to one offence under the Fraud Act 2006 at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Thomas Francis Kelly, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing on 12 February 2013 to three offences under the Fraud Act and two under Forgery and Counterfeiting.

The three defendants were remanded on unconditional bail to 22 July 2013 when they will be sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

The OFT has been assisted in this case by Connells Estate Agent and the West Midlands Police.

Update 12 February 2013

Plea and case management hearing took place at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Update 26 November 2012

Thomas Francis Kelly , his wife Samantha Jayne Kelly and Stephen Butts appeared at Sandwell Magistrates Court on Monday 26 November. They were committed to appear, on conditional bail, at Wolverhampton Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing - currently listed for 3 January 2013.

Update 1 October 2012

Three individuals appeared before Sandwell Magistrates’ Court on October 1 2012 in respect of allegations of fraud in property sales.

Thomas Francis Kelly (32) and his wife Samantha Jayne Kelly (30) are both jointly charged with:

  • Three offences under the Fraud Act 2006 in relation to abuse of the position of employment as an estate agent contrary to s.1 Fraud Act 2006

  • One charge of making a false instrument contrary to s.1 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981

  • Thomas Kelly is also charged with a second count of making a false instrument.

Stephen Butts (28) is charged with:

  • One offence under the Fraud Act 2006 in relation to abuse of the position to employment as an estate agent.

All three defendants were released on conditional bail. The next court hearing will be on the 26 November.

Charges announced: 12 September 2012

The OFT brought charges against three individuals - Thomas Francis Kelly, Samantha Jayne Kelly and Andrew Stephen Butts - in connection with an investigation into suspected fraud in property sales.

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