|Hardy Ripped-Off Tenants|
A rogue letting agent, who stole £72,000 from tenants and landlords before fleeing to her native South Korea, has been ordered to stay in at night as a punishment.
Myung Hardy, 60, will also keep the money and was let-off having to do community service work because she has rheumatoid arthritis.
Ironically the disgraced businesswoman is being housed by Croydon charity Elis David Almshouse, which specialises in providing accommodation for people in need.
She was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to obey a six-month night time curfew between 9pm and 7am.
The curfew will not be electronically tagged and the prosecution made no application for the return of the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
First time offender Hardy pleaded guilty at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court to seventeen counts of theft from landlords and tenants between October 1, 2010 and April 19, 2011.
The court heard she ran Jins Lettings in New Malden High Street, New Malden and collected rent on behalf of landlords and held tenants’ deposits.
However, she suddenly fled to her homeland a few weeks after police began investigating her in May, 2011.
She returned to the UK last year, claiming the business ran into financial trouble after a civil court case and she started gambling to recoup the money.
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Recorder Jonathan Kinnear QC told her: “You for a number of years ran a letting agency and in 2010 you fell into difficult financial times despite previously running a successful business.
“You had issues with the lease of a building you either occupied or others occupied and that led to a legal dispute that led you to losing a considerable amount of money in fees.
“Your reaction was a sixteen month course of thefts, stealing deposits and rent monies you received into your business account.
“You took about seventy-two thousand pounds, some of which you used to gamble in trying to turn around your financial misfortune.
“That led to greater financial difficulties.
“This was a considerable breach of trust against people who trusted their money in your hands and your culpability is high.
“You have no previous convictions and you have demonstrated clear remorse and admitted the offences in the police station.
“You are sixty years-old, suffer from severe rheumatoid arthritis and taking the other factors into account I’m prepared to suspend the sentence.”