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A mother and daughter acting as letting agents have been found guilty of defrauding tenants and landlords out of £266,000 and jailed.
Mother and daughter team Angela Treneer, 72, and Elizabeth Treneer, 38, retained sums of up £53,000 from as many as 40 victims.
Premier Property Management based in Cornwall was run by the mother and daughter, who used the money they defrauded from their victims to maintain their lifestyles but were caught when Trading Standards officers began an investigation after ‘numerous complaints’ regarding the Truro-based agency.
Many of the complaints about the mother and daughter team were made after it was highlighted in a BBC Inside Out investigation in 2017 looking into letting agents who raided money from tenants’ deposit schemes.
Truro Crown Court heard that the Treneers withheld rents and used money meant for some landlords to pay others in a case of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, and Elizabeth partly used the money to take holidays.
The offences took place between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2017.
In mitigation, both of the women’s legal teams said they were both of good character and planned to compensate their victims.
However, Judge Robert Linford said of the mother and daughter’s actions that it was ‘dishonesty on an industrial scale’.
Angela Treneer, of Mylor Bridge and known as Coleen, pleaded guilty to fraud by dishonestly abusing her position.
Elizabeth Treneer, of Perranwell Station and known as Ann, admitted two counts of participating in a fraudulent business and perverting the course of justice over faked documents.
The mother and daughter were both given custodial sentences. Elizabeth Treneer was jailed for three years and four months and her mother Angela Treneer was jailed for a year and eight months.
Applications have been made to retrieve the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.