A letting agency director who stole more than £350,000 in deposits and rent has been spared jail.
Clifford Wheatcroft, 33, ran Real-Est8 Property Solutions in Bournemouth.
The business launched in 2009 but by December 2013 Wheatcroft was declared bankrupt, according to the Bournemouth Echo.
It subsequently emerged that he had not been placing tenants’ money in a deposit protection scheme but instead used the cash to fund a “lavish lifestyle”.
Several landlords also found they were owed months’ worth of rent.
Wheatcroft told police that he got into financial difficulty in 2012, which then got worse after the loss of a big client in 2013.
He then started to use the deposits and rent to keep up other payments.
Financial enquiries showed Wheatcroft spent a considerable amount of money from the company account on personal items including holidays, leisure activities, shopping and meals. totalling £357,260.08.
Wheatcroft has now been sentenced to 17 months in prison, suspended for two years, after admitting eight counts of theft.
Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings are due to take place in the coming months.
Wheatcroft must also carry out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Detective constable Mandy Brimicombe, of Dorset Police, said: “As with these types of financial investigations where there are a number of victims, the case was lengthy and complex.
“Wheatcroft used his position to fund his lavish lifestyle, with many victims losing thousands of pounds.
“I hope this sentence shows that we take such allegations extremely seriously and will bring offenders to justice.”