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Erith fraud stole £3,000 by posing as Gravesend landlady, taking another £5,000 from benefit claimant

PUBLISHED: 13:28 16 October 2017

Justina Steigvilaite

Justina Steigvilaite

Archant

Justina Steigvilaite took deposits from would-be tenants

An Erith fraudster who posed as a landlady to pocket deposits from hopeful tenants has been jailed.

Justina Steigvilaite would show her victims around a home in Parrock Street, Gravesend, before asking for money.

But then the tenants would arrive to move in, they would find the property already occupied and discover the 31-year-old was not event the landlady.

The Parkway, Erith resident pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud at a Maidstone Crown Court trial.

The court heard how Steigvilaite advertised the room for rent in a local shop between April 1 2016 and May 6 2016.

During this time show showed various people around the town centre road, taking money from five of them.

The amount the fraudster took from her victims ranged from £200 to £1,200, and on some occasions, was paid directly into her bank account.

On May 9, three days after the advertisement was taken down, Steigvilaite was arrested following an investigation by Kent Police.

On top of the fraud counts relating to Steigvilaite posing as a landlady, she pleaded to receiving more than £5,000 from the Department of Work and Pensions due to false representation.

The money was supposed to go to a person the offender was caring for, but instead, she kept the majority of the funds for herself, giving only a portion to the rightful recipient.

The serial fraudster event took out a bank loan in the name of another person, withdrawing funds from their account.

On Monday, October 9, Steigvilaite was sentenced to two years in prison when she appeared at Maidstone Crown Court.

Police constable Colin Bassett, the investigating officer for this case, said: “Steigvilaite deceitfully gained over £3,000 from people who were looking for a place to live.

“She caused a huge amount of stress to each of these victims. Further to this she abused a position of trust to steal benefit payments meant for another person and took out a bank loan with a false identity to gain even more money. The sentence received is entirely appropriate.”

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