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.
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