Fraudster Steals at Property Viewing
By |Published On: 31st July 2015|

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Fraudster Steals at Property Viewing

By |Published On: 31st July 2015|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

A serial fraudster has stolen a bank card at a property viewing, after he tricked an estate agent into believing he was a doctor looking for a new house.

The 34-year-old criminal used a fake accent and dressed smartly for the scam.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court was told that Shiv Mohindra had seen the for sale sign outside the £299,000 semi-detached property on The Avenue, Basford, before booking the viewing.

After the family showed Mohindra around their home, he asked to use the toilet and used the opportunity to sneak into teenager Jacob Eardley’s bedroom, stealing his credit card and provisional driving license.

Mohindra’s crime was discovered when he tried to withdraw £400 from the Co-operative Bank on High Street, Newcastle. Staff noticed that his signature did not match that on the card and he failed to give the correct security details.

The fraudster has 134 offences on his record already, including 58 for fraud. He has now been jailed for three years after pleading guilty to burglary and fraud.

Laura Culley, prosecuting, said that Mohindra had created a fake identity so that he could view the property on 25th June 2014.

She told the court: “He had seen the house and decided to target it. He has extensive previous offences. It’s a consistent pattern of dishonesty.”1

The court also heard that Mohindra’s accomplice attempted to withdraw £70, but police were called and the pair was arrested.

Defending, Robert Smith said that the defendant’s plan was not as grand a scheme as it was made out to be.

He continued: “He struggles to give any reason as to why he committed this offence.

“There is something of Walter Mitty about how he behaved; the way he dressed, the affected accent, pretending to be a doctor.”1

Judge David Fletcher, sentencing Mohindra to three years in prison, said: “You are a thoroughly dishonest individual. On the day of this burglary, you masqueraded as another person to gain access to a family home.”1 

Mohindra’s victims have spoken of their relief after hearing of the sentence.

18-year-old Jacob, says: “I was shocked when I realised my card was missing.

“I was in bed when I got the call from the bank. They told me someone had come in with my cards. When we realised what had happened, it was hard to believe.

“I’m glad he’s behind bars.”1

Jacob’s mother, Sheila Eardley, says the incident has affected the family’s ability to trust visitors and they have decided not to sell the house.

She adds: “We were gobsmacked. It’s been unsettling; he’d been all over the house and we weren’t sure if he might come back.

“If he’s been sent by the estate agent, you’ve got no reason to suspect they’re not who they say they are. We had no reason to think he wasn’t who he was supposed to be. He was pretty convincing.”1

David Eardley, Sheila’s husband, was approached by Mohindra days before the viewing and was shocked to learn of the trick.

He explains: “He told me he was interested in buying the house. I told him to book an appointment with the estate agent.

“The only time he was left alone was when he went to the toilet. He’s clearly not very good at what he does. Either he really likes jail or he needs to change his profession.”1


About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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