Tenant fraud

A man has been found guilty of three counts of fraud after dishonestly obtaining a social home.

The tenant purchased a council flat in 2015 with a £100k discount, despite already renting a home in Barnet, Southwark Crown Court heard.

It also emerged that the man had sub-let the flat between 2013 and 2014, while claiming it was his primary residence.

The property owner said he was living in the flat with two other people, despite the studio being the size of a hotel room at just 25 square metres.

The individual originally obtained the council house in 2011 after saying he was single and living with his parents in temporary accommodation when he was in fact living with his wife in Enfield.

He then illegally rented out the property between August 2013 and September 2014.

Between September 2014 and May 2017 he rented a property with his partner in Barnet, but bought the Westminster flat outright from the council, saying it was his main home.

Southwark Crown Court. Image: Jorge Franganillo.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges, arguing that, despite getting married in 2009, he only visited his wife at weekends and didn’t live with her.

The fraud was uncovered by Westminster Council’s anti-fraud service.

Aisha Less, council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Public Protection and Licensing said: ” Council accommodation is designed to be for those truly in need. However, the actions of this individual were a calculated and clear breach of the process. They knew exactly what they were doing.”

“The Anti-Fraud service’s hard work have been vindicated by the jury’s decision on all three counts.

“By cracking down on fraudsters like this, we can continue our Fairer Housing commitment to allocate more social housing to residents who need it the most.”

The man will be sentenced on August 11, following which the council will start proceedings to recoup the gains made by the fraudster under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Image: Anthony O’Neil/ Wikimedia Commons

One thought on “Tenant found guilty of three counts of fraud after lying to obtain a social home”
  1. Thank you for publishing this. It’s shameful when so many are struggling and either homeless or placed in temporary accommodation or on a very long social housing waiting lists that such advantage taking fraudsters continue to profit. The issue that concerns me is this is one isolated case finally found out and prosecuted but it’s one of many that are still blissfully profiteering and been skilfully getting away with it at the expense of genuine applicants needing accommodation. One needs to investigate too within the employees ( and in particular also the seniors within that Housing Team) as there may be an individual that abuses their professional job remit by accepting inappropriate clandestine payment made to an individual who is in an influential position that enables this ? It may be less easy for junior level employees ? More junior employees cannot make these type of decisions as they tend to take instruction . Unfortunately I am sure this is far from an isolated case but certainly isolated compared to how many ( my personal opinion) have got away with this type of fraud? I also am interested the outcome of the court as often the judgment is often in truth insufficient a deterrent? I also feel it’s vital to forensically there needs to be an investigation for all the professionals allocated and who were involved with this case to locate how and by whom as the system in place has enabled this? The official protocol where there is poor serious lack of transparency Instead enabled anonymity as shrouded in official reams of o beauraucracy that creates this enabling and therefore no accountability? Someone has profiteered besides the culprit? There clearly is great financial gain to the perpetrator and the culprit and unless both are exposed this isolated exposed case is a small victory but unfortunately will not deter these crimes while Councils resources are being drained and genuine applicants struggling. Such a pity. Disheartening. My personal opinion . Thank you for raising awareness by publishing this article.

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