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A former estate agent, Mark Howe, has been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to ten years in prison after being convicted of 13 thefts and five other charges.

Howe, who once ran several businesses including Beach and Howe Estate Agents and was also a financial adviser, is thought to have stolen more than £1m from elderly and vulnerable people in Yorkshire.

He tricked them out of their life savings to fund his own lavish lifestyle, which included expensive cars, gambling and holidays in Spain.

His victims included his former mother-in-law, a woman with cancer and a man with lung disease. He also used an elderly couple’s details to get a mortgage with Northern Rock on their home, without their knowledge.

Prosecutors will attempt to get the money back at a confiscation hearing in court next year but police have warned this may prove impossible as Howe has refused to say where the money is.

Judge Paul Hoffman told Howe he had blighted lives and said: “In over 40 years, I’ve come across many ruthless fraudsters, but few could have measured up to you in terms of sheer criminality present, breach of trust, ruthlessness, harm done and total lack of remorse.

“You have inflicted on your victims not only huge financial damage but huge emotional damage. You have made some of them ill.

“Many of them will never recover from the financial damage and trauma you have caused them.”

Comments

  • Hey Mr Brightmove.co.uk. Why don't you leave off for a little while eh? Your inane comments on EVERY single story on EAT are really irritating to those trying to follow important debates. Your site is terrible and has no properties on it. Rather than spending 2 hours a day clogging up EAT with banality why don't you spend some money on web design and try to establish a proper portal.

    • 06 November 2008 02:25 AM
  • Rich, how is this one sided news? It's a story about an incident. How many sides does it need? Say something sensible, rather than idiotic statements like "all estate agents are dodgy" and you'll find people might take you more seriously. If you think that's intelligent debate, I'm worried for you.

    • 06 November 2008 02:01 AM
  • I like news matt, just not one sided news. Intelligent people debate, not throw insults. Pull your neck in. much love.

    • 05 November 2008 04:43 AM
  • I agree with Rich....I bet if you take any industry out there there will be someone who has been less than honest and whilst not condoning his behaviour...why report it as those with an axe to grind against Estate Agents now have more ammo to make our lives even harder.

    • 05 November 2008 12:52 PM
  • It is a sad fact that there is little regulation of Estate Agents in the UK. Estate Agents need to be licensed in many other countries. Even in neighboring Ireland -Estate Agents must be bonded before trading.

    • 05 November 2008 12:09 PM
  • Sorry Rich, you seem to be in the wrong place. This site is for intelligent people who are involved in property and interested in news. If you are an estage agent, god help us all!!

    • 05 November 2008 12:04 PM
  • It does seem like they're running out of things to talk about without just recycling issues. It doesn't need pointing out that things are going bad and HIPs are useless.

    • 05 November 2008 12:04 PM
  • rich i think your dodgy.

    • 05 November 2008 11:42 AM
  • Good News story?? What has that got to do with estate agents??? We are all dodgy really??

    • 05 November 2008 11:15 AM