A fraudster who said he was an experienced estate agent and ran a property scam which robbed 11 victims has been sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.
Jonathon Turner-Miller, 63, has also been banned from being a director for ten years following the frauds, which took place between 2011 and 2014.
At that time, Turner-Miller was the director of a property development business and claimed to have extensive experience in estate agency and the property market.
The court heard how Turner-Miller set up a rent-to-buy scheme, targeting vulnerable victims and promising them that he would successfully obtain a mortgage for them, allowing them to purchase the property of their dreams.
To participate in the scheme, which Turner-Miller advertised as government backed, victims were first asked to provide a 5% deposit.
Turner-Miller claimed the money would be held within a secure deposit account and upon completion of the scheme would be returned to them.
However, following a report from a victim to North Yorkshire Police, officers started to investigate the scheme.
They found that Turner-Miller was in fact depositing his customers’ 5% deposits into his own bank account and was spending their money to fund his lifestyle and service his debt.
A detailed and complex police investigation followed and North Yorkshire Police, working alongside Action Fraud, located a total of 11 victims of Turner-Miller, all of whom had lost a significant amount of money to the fraudster.
At sentencing, Judge Ashurst stated that the level of harm this fraud had caused was extremely great and had adversely affected the financial and emotional state of each victim, who are still suffering the effects of their financial loss and will feel the effects for years to come.
Investigating officer for North Yorkshire Police, DC Gary Smith-Owen, who returned from retirement to bring the investigation to its conclusion, said: “This has been a lengthy and meticulous investigation which started back in 2014, so we are pleased with the sentence that was returned by the court.
“I hope this sends out a strong message to those who think they can con people out of their hard-earned savings and take advantage of people’s aspirations. If you are suspected of committing fraud, police will turn over every stone and analyse every detail of your business, in order to protect the vulnerable.”