7 Feb 2017

Landlord claimed he needed social housing

A private landlord has been prosecuted for falsely claiming a Greenwich council home and has been ordered to pay back £29,000

Mr Kandappillai Jenopan was housed in a flat in Dabion Crescent in Greenwich by the council in May 2009 having declared that he was living in overcrowded accommodation with his family.

However while investigating another tenancy issue it the council’s Internal Audit and Anti-Fraud team discovered the 40-year-old petrol garage franchisee was the owner and landlord of four residential properties in Scunthorpe at the time he obtained the one bedroom tenancy.

Further checks with the North Lincolnshire council confirmed that Mr Jenopan had been living in the Scunthorpe area for many years and that his declaration that he was living in overcrowded accommodation in the Woolwich area with family was false.

He was charged with two offences under the Fraud Act and was summonsed to appear at Bexley Magistrates Court on 14 November 2016 where he pleaded guilty to both offences. Noting his early guilty plea and deep remorse (!) Judge Katz QC sentenced Mr Jenopan to a 20 month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered him to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work in the community at Woolwich Crown Court. At the sentencing on December 20 he also ordered him to repay its losses of £29,106.31 with the first £10,000 by December 28 which has been done. He was also ordered to repay prosecution costs of £1026.12 within two years.

Councillor Maureen O’Mara, the cabinet member for customer services, said: “Royal Borough investigators now have far greater powers to investigate tenancy fraud and to get properties back for those in genuine need of accommodation. This case shows that if you think that handing back the property will spare you from prosecution, then you should think again. Tenancy fraud is a serious matter; we will prosecute you and pursue you for our financial losses. Mr Jenopan now has a criminal record for fraud and has to repay over £30,000 to the Royal Borough.”

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