Fraudster Northampton lettings agency boss ordered to pay back £22,000 in compensation

Peter Bell was sentenced in 2017 for defrauding some 92,000 from his estate agency company.
Peter Bell was sentenced in 2017 for defrauding some 92,000 from his estate agency company.

A Northampton fraudster who skimmed cash from clients and landlords while working for a town centre estate agents has been ordered to pay back £22,000 in compensation.

Peter Bell, 36, formerly from Wootton, was franchise director of the Enfields office in Mercer's Row before senior staff found he had defrauded some £92,000 from the company.

He was jailed for two years in May 2017 after pleading guilty to 11 counts of theft and four counts of fraud.

But he has now been given until May 14 to pay more than £22,000 in compensation to his victims or face another 12 months' imprisonment.

DS Richard Barnett, from Northamptonshire Police’s Financial Investigation Unit, said: “We are pleased to be able to compensate some of the loss sustained by the victims of Mr Bell’s crime.

"The Financial investigation Unit works hard to ensure that crime doesn’t pay and even if you have gone to prison to serve time, we will still come after those assets which have been gained through illegal and criminal activity.”

A police investigation found Bell had acted with his ex-partner, Rebecca Kirton, 28, formerly of Wootton Hill Farm, Northampton, to divert funds from the company by convincing clients and landlords to deal in cash.

They were secretly using tenant deposits and rental money to pay for an expensive rental property, lease cars and foreign holidays, including a trip to the Monaco Grand Prix.

Speaking after the sentencing, director of Enfields Ian Soulsby said: "We reported our findings to the police immediately and he was arrested shortly after.

"It was a very considerable amount of money and must have been taken from an untold number of landlords."