Jailed Ipswich letting agent who fleeced up to £68,000 from customers was barely literate but allowed to pass regulatory exams with help from psychologist

Fraudster Roy Jackson, who was jailed for 20 months

Fraudster Roy Jackson, who was jailed for 20 months - Credit: Archant

A barely literate Ipswich letting agent who received help to pass his regulatory exams has been jailed after fleecing his customers out of up to £68,000.

As Roy Jackson was imprisoned for 20 months his own counsel and an Ipswich Crown Court judge expressed shock that he was allowed to open his own business.

The 39-year-old was described as a man who can barely read and write but had the “gift of the gab”.

Jackson defrauded 31 customers based in Ipswich, Waldringfield, Wickham Market, Colchester, Wales, Spain and France in relation to 50 properties.

After closing Suffolk Lettings in St Peter’s Street, Ipswich, in January last year and running off with their money Jackson found work at two estate agents in London, the court heard.

He was arrested when about to fly out to Ibiza from Stansted airport in September.

Sentencing Jackson, formerly of Goodwood Close, Ipswich, Judge Peters Assistant Judge Advocate General said it was clear from a report she had read an educational psychologist had given Jackson help to pass his letting agent exams.

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As Jackson dabbed the tears from his eyes the judge said: “You never should have been running a business.

“You clearly have the gift of the gab. Gift of the gab is what you had. The ability to run a business is not what you had.

“You are quite frankly a dishonest man and there’s no getting round that.

“Should the Association of Letting Agents have certified you? Probably not.”

Roger Thomson, representing Jackson, said: “Possibly Mr Jackson running his own business was doomed to failure at the outset.

“Clearly running his own business was a slightly ambitious idea. It all worked out to start with because he had assistance from his wife and an assistant.

“Once the relationship with his wife broke down he didn’t have the support of that. He got himself into difficulties, dipping into client account monies to try and help the business with the intention originally, of course, of paying them back. Eventually the whole thing gets out of hand and he can’t continue.

“He basically puts his head in the sand and does a runner.”

Referring Jackson’s attempt to run a business with learning difficulties Mr Thomson added: “Quite clearly it was never going to be a success from the outset.

“He was in the habit of coming up with big projects, having impulsive thoughts. This was what this was all about. He got himself into that situation. He should never have got himself into it. He should never have been allowed to have got into that situation in a regulated industry.

“He completely overstretched himself.”

Although the fraud, which Jackson had admitted committing between January 2011 and January 2013, was alleged to have been worth £68,000, he claimed it was around £50,000.

The court heard Jackson only has £2,000 left in the bank.