Estate agent sentenced after admitting theft and identity fraud
An estate agent who photographed clients bank cards while showing prospective buyers around their homes has been sentenced to two years for identity theft and fraud at Guildford Crown Court today.
Ayodele Oladuti, 29, of South Croydon, photographed bank cards on his phone and took bank statements and other documents as he visited clients’ homes. He’d use the documents to commit identity theft – setting up bank accounts and a phone contract in their names – before returning to their homes to collect the fraudulently obtained bank cards and a mobile phone. He also used the photographed bank cards to buy clothing and electrical goods online and in stores. In total he attempted to defraud, 20 victims of a total of just over £25,000 and was successful in obtaining just over £6000.
Oladuti admitted seven counts of fraud on Monday 13 March, and asked for a further 69 offences to be taken into consideration.
His offences came to light when a seller became suspicious during a viewing. When the prospective viewers left the flat, Mr Oladuti didn’t leave with them. The seller checked his CCTV and saw Mr Oladuti opening doors and cupboards. He took the footage straight to the manager of the estate agency (The Personal Agent), who immediately called Surrey Police. Mr Oladuti was arrested in their offices later that day.
DC Simon Evans, who investigated the case, said:
“Mr Oladuti cynically manipulated his way into employment as an estate agent by faking his CV and setting up a fake email account to provide himself with a reference to an employment agency, who then recommended him to this local business.
“He then systematically defrauded the people whose homes he was showing to prospective buyers. In at least one case he returned to defraud the victim a second time, once the victim had closed all their compromised accounts.
“Ayodele Oladuti breached the trust placed in him by innocent victims who looked to him to help them sell their properties.
"He caused untold stress and worry to his victims, who were forced to rearrange their financial affairs at the same time as they were trying to move house.
“I am particularly grateful to The Personal Agent for their quick thinking and continued help in catching and prosecuting Mr Oladuti.
“I hope that this sentence gives some comfort to the victims, including the estate agency, who have had to unpick the chaos that this man’s identity fraud has caused.
This CCTV footage (taken on a motion activated camera) shows Mr Oladuti showing two prospective buyers around a flat. When the viewing is over he doesn’t leave with the two women and, instead, opens a number of drawers and cupboards, before carrying a security box into the hall (where the keys were located) then returning it to the bedroom.
The home owner was suspicious of his actions and raised concerns with The Personal Agent company, who immediately contacted Surrey Police.
For legal reasons we must make it clear that the footage does not show Mr Oladuti committing a crime, but it does show the behaviour which led to suspicions being raised, and his subsequent arrest.