Simon van Houten, 31, was given a 30-month prison sentence at the Old Bailey this afternoon after pleading guilty to stealing £122,000 from leasehold service charge accounts held by London managing agent Rendall and Rittner.
Van Houten carried out the fraud for two years between 2008 and 2010 by issuing invoices for a bogus maintenance company, “London Decorating Services”, which he subsequently approved and paid.
Thirty payments were made with amounts varying from £2,100 to £7,300. VAT was also added, with Van Houten using the VAT number he had lifted from a legitimate company.
By plundering the accounts of 1,400 units under his management in east London, Van Houten was able to live the high life, “beyond his means”, in Chelsea. Although the fraudster did not use the cash for any single large purchase, none of the money has been recovered.