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Fraudster jailed for five months for swindling would-be tenants
JASON Ranford, of the Brunel Rooms, has been jailed for five months after committing fraud while breaching a suspended sentence for common assault.
On Monday, Chippenham Magistrates’ Court heard how Ranford, 27, had stolen more than £1,000 from his victims by taking deposits for properties in Swindon with the intention of depriving them of their money.
Ranford signed a fake name on one of the receipts, and provided a key for one of the properties which turned out not to work, before avoiding calls and texts from his victims.
And the court heard yesterday how Ranford had been in breach of a suspended sentence order by committing these offences after being convicted of common assault in May 2012.
Nick Barr, for the prosecution, said: “On 25 February last year, the victim, who was a friend of the defendant’s girlfriend, was invited to a house party at the residence of Mr Ranford.
“While at the party the victim realised a credit card was missing from her purse, and another person at the party mentioned Mr Ranford had a history of fraud.
“What followed was Mr Ranford losing his temper, shouting and screaming at the victim in the bedroom. She then went outside and waited for a taxi. The defendant then came out shouting and pushed her, causing her to fall on the road surface. As she lay there the defendant showered her with punches to the head. The victim was defenceless.
“The defendant was restrained but broke free again, punching her in the head, screaming with rage as he did so.”
Ranford represented himself at both the trial and the sentencing hearing.
He is currently under two probation orders, the suspended sentence order made on May 25 and a 100-hour unpaid work order lasting 18 months.
The court heard how Ranford had 18 hours 55 minutes left to serve on his unpaid work order, which had been outstanding since August 15. It also heard how Ranford had £2,114.11 of outstanding court fines. He had been ordered to pay £200 a month, but had paid nothing since June this year.
Ranford, speaking in his own defence, said: “It is my fault I did not have Legal Aid and I have to face the consequences. I was convicted on Monday and am now here 48 hours later with no legal representation.
“I now run a completely different business and my behaviour is completely different. If I go to prison I will lose my business.”
Chairman Roger Williams, sentencing, said: “For the first fraud for £300 you will go to prison for four weeks. For the second fraud for £750 you will go to prison for eight weeks. These will be served concurrently.
“These were committed while on a suspended sentence order and a community order. We are going to activate the suspended sentence for a period of 12 weeks to run consecutively, meaning you will serve a total of 20 weeks in prison.”
Helene Simpkins, director at the Brunel Rooms, last night moved to distance the club from Ranford’s actions. “This court case has got no impact on the Brunel Rooms,” she said. “We want to carry on doing what we are doing. Whatever happens, we are planning on running as normal.
“There is no link between this court case and the Brunel Rooms, and the business will not be affected by this. Jason is not listed as a director.”