Fraudster must pay victims £580,000 or face more time in jail
- Credit: Archant
A convicted fraudster has been ordered to repay more than £580,000 to his victims - or face an even longer prison sentence.
Jeffrey Gadsden, 70, formerly of Bear Street, Nayland, stole £700,000 from clients at Walkers Professional Property Management Ltd between 2009 and 2013.
He was the sole director of the firm when it went into liquidation in May 2013, and police believe he used the money to pay wages and prop up his failing business.
The fraudster was summoned to court in May 2017 following a complex investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court heard he collected rent and service charges on behalf of landlords for more than 150 properties across the east of England.
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The court heard these funds were kept in client accounts, with rent normally sent to the property owners on a regular basis.
However by June 2013, Gadsden's business had run into financial difficulty and he had begun spending his clients' money on the day-to-day running of his business.
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Some of his victims attended Gadsden's company offices to collect their money, but found the office was shut and the business was in liquidation.
On July 11, 2018, Gadsden was convicted of eight counts of fraud by abusing a position of trust.
He was sentenced to five years behind bars for the first count of fraud, and four years for the remaining seven counts, to run concurrently.
At a confiscation hearing on Thursday, May 2, Gadsden was found to have benefited from his crimes to the tune of £700,000.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee Morton, head of Essex's Serious Economic Crime Unit, said: "This was a large scale theft of money from people who believed they were dealing with an honest person. The sentence passed on to Gadsden reflects how this type of crime is viewed by the court and the Proceeds of Crime Act has been used to take away any benefit obtained by him and this will be given back to his victims."
Because he had limited assets and was unable to pay the whole amount, he was ordered to pay £580,747.99 to his seven victims.
If Gadsden fails to repay by August 1, he will face another five years in prison.