A former estate agent from Chalfont St Peter has been jailed for false representation.

Between May 1 2011 and November 1 2012, 59-year-old Andre Montaut, who worked for Barrington Property, failed to safeguard the financial interests of his clients.

This happened despite being aware of the requirement for tenant deposits to be held in a ring fenced account.

Montaunt did not do this, instead choosing to pay them into a separate account which was used to support his business.

On November 1, Barrington Property ceased trading. No provision as made to repay the deposits taken, leaving Montaut’s clients to repay in excess of £70,000 in tenant deposits.

This omission was exacerbated by the fact that despite creating a separate account for the deposits to be held in and supplying details of this to the government, he did not use this.

Montaut also provided MyDeposits with fraudulent bank statements showing balances in excess of £142,000. In reality, from 30 April 2012, the balance was no more than £136.

Montaut provided the fraudulent statements to MyDeposits in order to disguise the fact that the deposits were not being held in the segregated account, to maintain his membership of the scheme and to continue trading.

A total of 26 clients were victim of Montaut’s offences. He was charged on 26 April 2018.

He was sentenced to a total of two years’ and one month imprisonment on Tuesday, August 20.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Ashley Ruane, of Banbury Local CID, said: “Montaut breached the trust placed in him by his clients.

“He has shown little remorse for his victims throughout the investigation which has ultimately cost him freedom.

“Let this be a lesson to any estate agents who fail to protect the financial interests of their clients for their own benefit.”