Showing posts with label conditional discharge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label conditional discharge. Show all posts

31 Oct 2019

Conditional discharge for social housing fraud

A former Crawley resident has been successfully prosecuted by Crawley Borough Council for two criminal offences in relation to council tax and tenancy fraud.

Helen Reed held a council tenancy at Cumbernauld Walk, Bewbush but moved out of her property to live with her husband in Gosport in April 2018. She was also claiming a Council Tax Reduction Scheme award and housing benefit at the Bewbush address.

Council fraud investigators became aware of the situation in August 2018 and began gathering evidence to prove their case.

Mrs Reed was found to be renting accommodation in Gosport while continuing to receive benefits at her Crawley address, which was rented out to her adult daughter. Mrs Reed failed to inform the council about the change in her circumstances and that she was no longer living at Cumbernauld Walk.

Once enough evidence was obtained, Mrs Reed was interviewed under caution at Portsmouth City Council offices by fraud officers from Crawley Borough Council in March 2019, by which time the situation had been continuing for almost a year, leading to substantial council tax and housing benefit overpayments, which she was made to repay.

Additionally, her tenancy was subsequently ended and the property at Cumbernauld Walk was repossessed by the council.

Mrs Reed was summonsed to court for her actions and pleaded guilty to offences under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 and the Council Tax Reduction Schemes Regulations 2013. She was convicted and sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a contribution towards costs.



3 Nov 2017

Ex boxing champ jailed for illegal sub-letting

A former champion boxer who became an Islamic extremist and supporter of ISIS has been jailed for ten months for illegally sub-letting his home.

Anthony Small, 36, who also won the light middleweight Commonwealth belt, and partner Maryam Malik, 25, charged nearly £1,000 a month to tenants living in two south London housing association properties.

Small, also known as Abdul Haqq, of Camberwell Green, south London was jailed for 10 months while partner Malik, of Stoke-on-Trent, was handed a conditional discharge of two years.

The couple carried out the scam to ‘line their pockets’ by ‘taking advantage of the system’.

Pregnant mother Elisabeth Kovacs was duped by the pair into thinking she was renting a Sydenham home from them in 2016. Small then leased his Camberwell flat to Dimitar Nenov despite belonging to Hexagon Housing Association, who supply social homes for those in need.

Their crime came to light after a handyman came round to fix a boiler in their Sydenham property while Ms Kovacs was living there. The engineer quickly realised she was unaware that the home belong to the local housing association, and alerted the authorities.

Small reached the height of his fighting career in 2009 when he became British and Commonwealth champion but quit the ring in 2010 as it clashed with his extremist take on Islam. He became a follower of the banned terror group Al Muhajiroun and a close associate of hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

In 2015 he was cleared of plotting to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS and was also found not guilty of disseminating terrorist publications and supporting a proscribed group. But he later said victims of the Westminster Bridge attacks, in which four people were killed, would burn in ‘hellfire’ on his Youtube channel. In September 2014, he released a video stating that the beheadings of American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, were ‘retaliation’ and not ‘unprovoked’.

But while criticising the British government as ‘crusaders’ Small cheated the taxpayer and took advantage of the dwindling council housing stock. His partner Malik said she did not know she could not sub-let the property without permission as she did not read the contract.

Judge Andrew Baillie told them: ‘Each of you sub-let housing association properties of which you were a tenant. It happened within a few weeks of one another and although you both deny it I have no doubt you knew what each of the other was doing. I have no doubt you acted deceptively intending to deceive the housing association and sub tenants.

‘Malik – you are of good character. There are many good things about you. You have three young children. You deserve some punishment but you have been considered unfit for unpaid work. A curfew doesn’t make much sense considering the volatility of what your home may be in the next few months. With three children anything I order you to pay financially would be counter productive for the upbringing of those three children.

‘I’m going to take an unusual course. I’m going to order a conditional discharge for the next two years. Any judge who sees this will think you got off lightly. I do not recommend you come back.

‘Small – bearing in mind your previous record and particularly the fact these offences were committed during the operational period of a suspended sentence I can’t take any other action but to impose an immediate prison sentence. I’m not going to take into account that during the course of the trial you indicated your hostility to the criminal justice system including the police and the court system. I haven’t found that particularly surprising but it’s fairly childish to fail to disguise it. I found some of your social and domestic views distinctly unattractive but I have no intention of sentencing you for those thoughts but those offences you have been convicted of by a jury and the consequential effect on your suspended sentence.’

Southern Housing Association may yet bring their own proceedings against Small, whilst Hexagon Housing has started proceedings to repossess Malik’s property, which she is appealing.

Small was sentenced to six months for one count of fraud and three months for one count of unlawful subletting to run consecutively. He was sentenced to four months imprisonment for breaching his suspended sentence of 32 weeks imposed for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £130 but no unlawful profit order was made as he would be unable to pay it from prison.

He was also accused of assaulting Ms Kovacs but was cleared of that charge and two of unlawful harassment.

Malik was handed a conditional discharge of two years for one count of fraud and one count of unlawful subletting. She was ordered to pay costs of £200 under an unlawful profit order at a rate of £10 per month and a victim surcharge of £20. She was acquitted on two counts of unlawful harassment.

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