IT IS believed that millions of pounds could be missing following the sudden collapse of a Dorset-based property management firm.

Where is the money?

This is the question asked by tenants and leaseholders across Dorset, including in Weymouth, who paid Initiative Property Management for its services.

A Dorset Police email seen by the Echo and sent to victims at the centre of a fraud investigation states: “There are 473 client bank accounts, and the aggregate balance across all of the accounts is £10,500. Many of the accounts have nil or close-to nil balances.”

However, we have spoken to multiple residents who say their accounts with IPM contained tens of thousands of pounds.

Dorset Echo: Jody Martinez Dodge Jody Martinez Dodge (Image: Daily Echo)

Jody Martinez Dodge is just one property owner “caught up in all the mess” and who wants answers.

The 25-year-old is also a director for two blocks of flats in Bournemouth town centre.

He said around £20,000 was paid into accounts at Lloyds Bank with IPM, and that earlier this year residents raised a £14,500 levy to pay a contractor for exterior painting work.

He said: “We've lost all available funds we had in our reserve fund as a community.

“We have a financial hole that we now need to fill which means we need to put our hands in our pocket and put more money on the table.

“The other problem we have is all the information, all the contracts, all the accounting paperwork was with Initiative so we had no clue who had been paid, who hadn’t been paid.

“For us, it was a shock.”

He added: “We had no idea on the building insurance if they'd been [paid] up to date. We had no idea when the renewal was. And I can go on and on.”

Jody said recent events have ‘brought the community closer together’, however, ‘we would like to receive our money back’.

“On real terms, the likelihood is that's not going to happen,” he said.

Jody has praised the police investigation but wants to know 'where the money is and who is responsible’.

Dorset Echo: Initiative Property Management at Branksome Park House, Branksome Business Park, PooleInitiative Property Management at Branksome Park House, Branksome Business Park, Poole (Image: Daily Echo)

Based on how many IPM accounts there are, he believes millions of pounds are missing and that thousands of people have been impacted.

He added: “My big question now is [for] Lloyds Bank, where the accounts were, why did they not identify that the accounts were being flushed down to a zero balance.”

Ultimately, he said: “This isn't about me. This is about, I guess, all the other residents, particularly the elderly people that have lost out on money… that are on pensions… they don't have a lot.”

According to an archived version of the IPM website from March this year, the firm managed 175 blocks. This included 2,144 flats and apartments.  

An email sent by a former service manager in September stated the company stopped trading with immediate effect and all accounts had been frozen.

The IPM office in Branksome was raided by police last week and the Dorset Police Economic Crime Unit is currently investigating.

Anyone who can help police is urged to call 101 and quote Operation Interest or crime reference number 55230141924.

The Daily Echo has been unable to contact anyone at IPM, including the sole company director. 

Lloyds Bank has been approached for comment.