A former property manager who stole almost £140,000 from a Chester-based estate agency that she worked for by transferring funds to a number of fake landlord accounts that she managed has been ordered to repay the money.
Wendy Dare, 57, abused her position at the estate agency by moving almost £139,000 worth of company funds to bank accounts set up in the names of herself, her husband and their daughter.
Chester Crown Court heard Dare, of Southport Road, Ormskirk, worked at the unnamed estate agents between May 2015 and December 2020.
As part of her role as a letting manager she had access to the company’s accounts. In June of 2021, the estate agency discovered an issue in which a payment of around £23,000 designated to one of their landlord clients could not be accounted for.
An internal investigation into the disappearance of the money was launched, with it being discovered Dare had been repeatedly accessing the company accounts to transfer money to her own accounts. An investigation was then launched by Cheshire Constabulary detectives who built upon the evidence given to them by the letting agents.
Detectives Andy Manson and Georgia Hughes found four accounts in Dare’s name and five in her husband’s had been set up. Some 37 transactions that exceeded £47,000 had been paid into accounts that belonged to fake landlords – accounts all set up by Dare herself.
The total loss as a result of the fraudulent transactions totalled £138,741, but Dare had paid back around £32,500 of the money to the letting agent between February 2016 and November 2020. As a result of the investigation into her dodgy finances, Dare was charged with three counts of fraud by abuse of power. She was jailed for 28 months in March this year.
But unfortunately for Dare, her sentencing was not the end of her trouble with the law. Financial investigator Jane Carruthers, of Cheshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit, reviewed Dare’s financial case and brought about a return to court for the rogue operator.
Dare returned to court last month and was ordered to repay almost £123,000 to her former employer. She has three months to pay the order or she will face a further custodial sentence, while still being liable to pay the order.
Carruthers said: “Wendy Dare’s confiscation order sends a strong message that Cheshire Police takes the recovery of the proceeds of crime and loss to victims very seriously. It highlights the importance of asset recovery considerations running throughout an investigation, to maximise the opportunities to recover significant sums derived from criminality in an effort to compensate victims of crime.”
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