One of the UK’s prominent residential ground rent investors who enjoyed a glittering career heading finance departments of some of the country’s top PLCs has admitted to grooming a teenage girl for sex.
Julius Gottlieb resigned as managing director of Dorchester Ground Rent Management after he was arrested when he went to meet the 14-year-old, whom he believed he had been chatting with online. In fact, he had been chatting with a group of men dedicated to exposing child molesters.
Gottlieb helped establish Islington-based property investment fund Dorchester Ground Rent Management Ltd with EC Harris, which managed in excess of 30,000 units in its ground rent funds on behalf of institutional investors.
The move was another highlight on Gottlieb’s CV, which included being finance director of Morley Fund Management, the property fund management arm of Aviva.
But the career of the 48-year-old – who was also once chairman of The Property Finance Forum, chief financial officer at Lend Lease and financial director at Berkeley Homes Plc – now lies in tatters after he admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
Harrow Crown Court heard how Gottlieb exchanged thousands of messages and emails with “Millie”, but when he went to meet her for the first time in Guildford he was confronted by vigilante Shane Brannigan.
Gottlieb had sent texts to “Millie” asking her to send pictures of herself, to pretend to be his niece and call him “Uncle Jules”.
Judge Graham Arran sentenced Gottlieb to a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He was ordered to attend a 100-day sex offenders’ treatment programme and 60 days of rehabilitation. The court also banned him from contact with children under the age 16 for 10 years.
Mr Arran told him: “You have to accept you brought this entirely on yourself. There’s plainly something in you that led you to act in this sexually deluded fashion.”