A con-artist from Hackney received a community order and a suspended jail term after swindling potential tenants out of hundreds of pounds by offering them bogus rooms.

Catia Jesus advertised rooms at houses in Exmouth Road in Walthamstow, Brenthouse Road in Hackney and Salmon Lane and Commercial Road in Tower Hamlets.

The 25-year-old would take each prospective tenant to see a room she herself was renting in Exmouth Road.

She would tell them the actual room she was offering was at a different address on the same road but that the existing tenant had not moved out.

Jesus would then take initial rent and deposits between £185 and £540 for the fake rooms.

The 10 victims were told they could move in on Sunday, February 8 2015 but then she would delay the move-in date.

Some of the victims became suspicious that Jesus was deliberately stalling and then six of them turned up at her home in Exmouth Road to speak to her on Monday, February 9 2015.

They then realised they had been conned and confronted Jesus before calling the police.

Following the police’s arrival, she promised to return the deposits on Wednesday, 11 February 2015.

But when police and eight of the victims went back she was unable to pay them, so officers arrested her on suspicion of fraud.

After pleading guilty to five counts of theft at Snaresbrook Crown Court in October 2016, Jesus was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, which was suspended for 18 months, and 200 hours of unpaid work.

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