An estate agent who fled the country to escape charges of theft, and left his staff hundreds of pounds out of pocket, was jailed at Kingston Crown Court yesterday.
Manish Manek absconded from the UK in October 2012 after telling staff he was going to hospital to have a liver tumour removed and would not return until he was recovered.
The 54-year-old owned Je Je Barons, a Kingston estate agent, between 2008 and 2012 where over four years he stole more than £47,000 from clients, putting deposits and rents into his personal account.
Detective Constable Paul Lawlor, from Kingston CID, said: “Manek stole from the very people who were paying him to manage their properties and keep his business running.
“He blamed his criminal activities on his huge debt, his ill health and the health of family members. Regardless what his personal circumstance may have been, it does not justify resorting to criminal activities thinking it is an easy route out.
“Because of his actions, Manek is not only serving a custodial sentence in jail but has also lost the reputation he once had within his community.”
Manek’s deception was uncovered when a number of his creditor’s contacted police after he failed to pay off his debts.
Manek, of no fixed abode, had in fact sold his house and flown to India, leaving behind almost £18,500 owed to staff and creditors.
His staff found out the truth when Manek did not return to the office and their wages had not been paid.
Kingston CID officers launched an investigation and arrested Manek in September 2014 when he tried to return to the UK.
He was found guilty of 17 counts of theft and sentenced to 20 months in jail.