Some landlords in Denbighshire, a county in north east Wales, may have to sell their property after falling victim to a council worker who stole their rent.
A Denbighshire county council worker, who worked with the homeless, pleaded guilty at Mold Crown Court last week to pocketing rent due to landlords.
Michael James Lloyd, a homeless prevention worker for Denbighshire county council, liaised between tenants and private landlords. But he arranged for rents to be paid to himself direct, despite the fact that he was not supposed to handle cash.
The scandal came to light when a female tenant came into the office to pay rent direct to Lloyd, 56, of Abergele Road, Old Colwyn, while he was away from work.
At Mold Crown Court, he admitted five charges of fraud, one while in a position of trust, amounting to £8,000.
The prosecution had alleged that the fraud totalled £9,850, with Lloyd keeping the money for himself.
Judge Rhys Rowlands said that the case involved dishonestly while the defendant was employed by the council, leaving some landlords with potentially no alternative but to sell their property because of their losses.
“There is a real breach of trust here,” he said.
Judge Rhys Rowlands told the defendant: “You were the homeless prevention officer liaising between private landlords and tenants to prevent people from being rendered homeless.
“You were trusted by both your employers, the landlords and the tenants, who assumed you were safeguarding their interests.”
But given that Lloyd was deemed to be a man of good character, his age and ill-health after suffering a stroke when the offences came to light, he was spared jailed and handed a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He must also remain indoors between 9pm and 6am for three months under a tagged curfew and he was placed on rehabilitation.
A Proceeds of Crime time table has now been set and the judge said that he hoped the money could be recovered