Penwortham couple who reaped proceeds of a £92,000 Preston student flat fraud must sell vehicles

A married couple must sell their vehicles to help compensate a company for a £92,000 rental fraud, a judge has ruled.

Brunel Court, Preston
Brunel Court, Preston

David Pownall, 48, of Broad Oak Green, Penwortham, Preston, worked as a property manager for BPS Developers, who own and rent student accommodation in Glover's Court and Brunel Court in Preston.

But he dishonestly launched his own sideline of renting out rooms.

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The court found his wife Laura Pownall, 36, had put the money through her bank accounts and spent it as if it was her own.

He was previously jailed for three years and 10 months, while she had her 20 month term suspended for two years, with 200 hours of unpaid work imposed.

Preston Crown Court was told during his trial that he set up an arrangement with another man - who had approached him in good faith to use the rooms - but pocketed the rent himself, hiding receipt books to mask his dishonesty.

The irregularities came to light on October 6, 2017 when a fire risk assessment took place at Glover's Court, which was undergoing renovation.Staff found a number of residents in flats that they had no idea were occupied.

He was found guilty of fraud and both were found guilty of money laundering.

During a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, Judge Robert Altham agreed they had benefitted by £92,478.59.

He ordered a confiscation order of £900 - the value of Mr Pownall's van - and £1,590 - Mrs Pownall's car, which will be paid as compensation to the firm.

The court heard the occupancy of Brunel Court had increased since Pownall was sacked.

The judge added: " I'm glad no fatal harm was done to the company or the employees of the company."