A LETTING agent who conned homeowners out of thousands of pounds has been ordered to pay back only £850 of his ill-gotten gains.

Saleem Kassim invented apparently necessary maintenance work at the rental properties he managed and pocketed the £16,500 he was given to carry out these repairs.

The 36-year-old was a specialist residential managing agent at Leaders Estate Agents on Sankey Street in the town centre.

Properties managed by the married dad-of-three included a flat above Gittins Sports Therapy and Wellness Clinic on Marsh House Lane in Padgate, as well as another two addresses in Liverpool.

On seven occasions between 2016 and 2018, he told these clients that work needed to be done on their central heating.

But this work did not need to be carried out and was not carried out.

Instead Kassim, from Liverpool, paid the invoices for these repairs into his own bank account in order to pay off debts.

His replacement uncovered the swindle after the conman had left Leaders in shame in May last year.

The conman was spared jail at Liverpool Crown Court back in July after admitting fraud, instead being handed a 12-month imprisonment suspended for a year.

Kassim, who is now working as a taxi driver, was back in court on Friday, November 1, for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.

There, Recorder Terence Rigby imposed a confiscation order of £850 on the defendant – who was described by a judge earlier this year as a ‘hard-working family man’.

He will have 28 days to pay back this share of his ill-gotten gains, and will serve a week in prison if he does not.

Kassim was also subjected to a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 15 days and told to carry out 70 hours of unpaid work by judge Stuart Driver.

Speaking after the hearing, Emma Wells, Leaders’ Lettings managing director, said: “The behaviour of this individual goes completely against the values of the company, we work hard to secure the trust of our landlords by offering expert guidance and a proactive service.

"This activity was reported as soon as we became aware of it and we took appropriate action internally. Our clients can rest assured that this was a disappointing but isolated incident, and their investments are fully protected.”