A man who unlawfully acted as an estate agent while banned has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Amerjit Singh Dhuga, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully engaging in estate agency work over four years, was yesterday sentenced to a custodial sentence of six weeks suspended for two years, and fined £4,000 at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Collective prosecution costs were £5,000 and there was a victim surcharge of £170.
Dhuga, known as Bobby Singh of Love Your Postcode, was investigated by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team and found to be playing an active part in running the estate agency business despite being banned from engaging in estate agency work in 2013.
Dhug’s clients were unaware of the ban, with the offences spanned over four years between August 2016, and November 2020.
The investigation found that Love Your Postcode Limited provided valuations to several consumers which were lower than the “For Sale” price, often to the sum of £10,000 less, to which Love Your Postcode Limited would retain as a “Performance Fee” as well as the usual commission.
Love Your Postcode Limited also pleaded guilty to breaching professional diligence requirements by failing to declare to customers that Dhuga could not lawfully undertake estate agency work.
The company has been fined £16,000, reduced to £12,000 due to its early guilty pleas.
Speaking yesterday following the sentencing, chair of National Trading Standards Lord Toby Harris said: “Buying or renting a home is a major financial transaction for people and it is important that the public can rely on legitimate estate agents to provide a professional service.
“Working as an estate agent while banned is against the law and we will take action against dishonest fraudsters who try to con the public.
“This investigation demonstrates the vital role of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency team in protecting consumers and safeguarding legitimate practice within the estate agency sector.”