£32k fraudster walks free from court
A landlord's agent who "robbed Peter to pay Paul" by swindling £32,000 from her clients has walked free.
Judge Gordon Kerr QC told Mary Lloyd (62) her fault lay in the fact that she failed to tell her landlord clients she had been made bankrupt.
Rent money that Lloyd collected should have gone to her landlord clients, but instead it was being paid into a frozen account.
The judge suspended Lloyd's 18-month jail term for two years at Belfast Crown Court.
Lloyd, from Raglan Road in Bangor, pleaded guilty to nine charges of committing fraud by abuse of position and a further count of the theft of £265, on dates between January 1, 2008 and and January 27, 2011.
Prosecutor Rosemary Walsh told the court that Lloyd was running a property management firm, the "go-between" for landlords and tenants.
She described how Lloyd would collect the rents, deduct fees for her duties and property upkeep before passing on money to various landlords.
Lloyd was declared bankrupt in 2009 and money which should have gone to her clients was instead lodged into an account which had been frozen and was being used to pay her debts.
"I think it could be summarised," said Ms Walsh, "that by the end of it she was robbing Peter to pay Paul."
Defence lawyer John O'Connor said it was a "sad case" that Lloyd had invested in a failed business, had been constantly remortgaging her house and defrauding the landlords in an effort to keep the business afloat.
As well as the suspended jail term, Judge Kerr adjourned confiscation proceedings for six months.
He told Lloyd that she ought to have told her clients of her bankruptcy, giving them the option of using a different company instead of her trying to save her dying business.