A man who conned six victims into paying more than £12,000 in rent deposits has been jailed.

Zhaker Darvesh, 29, of Ilford, was jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday for 13 months and two weeks after previously admitting six counts of fraud.

Between March 1 and August 31, 2018, Darvesh advertised flats in East London on Gumtree. He would meet the victims and show them around the properties. After agreeing to rent them out to each of them, he would collect deposits ranging between £950 and £3,600.

Once he received payments, he would stop responding to messages, calls or emails.

The situation was picked up by Action Fraud after the victims, who were all unknown to each other, reported the matter. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.

Action Fraud launched an investigation and found that Darvesh was the common denominator in all their complaints. He had collected a total of £12,318.

Toyin Akinyemi, a senior crown prosecutor at the CPS, said: “Zhaker Darvesh acted as a rookie estate agent dishonestly collecting deposits for flats in east London. He drafted fake contracts and kept in contact with customers answering their queries and discussing move-in dates, before ‘ghosting’ them after receiving payments.

“Some victims were left stood outside the properties on their move-in date only to find that they had been duped.

“The defendant was fully aware of the opportunity to exploit those seeking to secure rented accommodation in east London and did so without hesitation.

“This planned, deliberate fraud was led by Darvesh’s greed and caused significant inconvenience and stress to victims who were in need of accommodation. I hope this prosecution shows that the CPS will take fraudsters to court to face justice where there is the evidence to do so.”

Darvesh obtained the keys to one flat while working as an estate agent, and another after renting it out for himself under his own company Ariana Estates.