Bogus landlord who conned tenants is spared from jail

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A bogus landlord who conned two budding tenants out of £1,030 has been spared from jail with a suspended custodial sentence.

Liam Gambino, 27, of Westlea, Clowne, was caught offering to rent a property on Malthouse Road, at Whitwell, which he did not own and had no right to let, according to a Stevenage Magistrates’ Court hearing on June 20.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop told a previous hearing at Chesterfield magistrates’ court in May that Gambino and his partner had moved into the Malthouse Road property which was owned by someone else and was in a state of disrepair and Gambino claimed they were allowed to live there if he carried out repairs.

Mrs Allsop added that Gambino’s two fraud victims had spotted the address being rented on Facebook and one paid rent up front with a deposit and the other was also asked for rent and a deposit which she arranged to pay by bank transfer.

Gambino told police he had pretended to be the property owner. The defendant also explained to police he had not initially intended to defraud the first victim and following the second offence he had kept the money because his partner was expecting twins and he had a large council tax bill.

He also apologised for what he had done but said he was in a difficult financial position.

Gambino, who has also been living in Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation by offering a property for rent that he did not own or have a right to let between November 13 and 21, 2015.

His case was adjourned for sentencing at St Alban’s magistrates’ court, in Hertfordshire, on May 12, and the case was further adjourned to a hearing on June 20, at Stevenage Magistrates Court.

He was sentenced to 40 weeks of custody suspended for two years.

Gambino was also ordered to pay £1,030 compensation, an £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs.