Omid Hashemi, of Alamein Avenue, Bedford, has been ordered to pay back almost £35,000 after being prosecuted for lying to obtain low cost social housing. Hashemi was also sentenced to a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Hashemi was housed in social housing by bpha after claiming that he, his wife and his younger brother were living in overcrowded conditions.
However an investigation revealed that Hashemi owned a three bedroom house, purchased just three months before applying for housing, which he rented out for profit.
Hashemi, was prosecuted at Luton Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.
Following the conviction, joint working by Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Council enabled an application to be made to seize Hashemi’s assets. The court heard evidence that Hashemi benefited from his crime and ordered him to pay almost £35,000, which represented all of his available assets. The amount must be paid within three months or Hashemi will face nine months in prison.
Councillor Michael Headley, said: “There are families across the Borough who genuinely need a place to call home and those who commit tenancy fraud take these homes from those most in need. As well as disadvantaging other members of our community, tenancy fraud also increases pressure on other services at a time when Bedford Borough Council faces continued cuts in funding.”
Note: The kicker punishment came not in the suspended sentence but in the order to repay £35,000.