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

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.

More here

17 May 2016

Conditional discharge for illegal sub-letting

A man who sublet his social housing property has been prosecuted by Bedford Borough Council.

Michael Reynolds, 66, was found guilty of subletting his bpha home in Milburn Road, under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.

The Council’s Investigations Team found Mr Reynolds had moved out of his bpha property in March 2013 to live with his partner in South Wales, and had subsequently sublet the home to his daughter and her partner.

The court heard that Reynolds had no right to sublet the property, which should have been returned to the housing association when he moved.

Mr Reynolds was given a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £626.10 plus £200 in legal costs. The property has been returned to bpha.

Cllr Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance at Bedford Borough Council, said: “When people sublet their social housing properties they are directly depriving a family in need of a home. By investigating these matters the Council is able to make more properties available to provide safe and secure homes for those in need. The Council and bpha will not stand for abuse and fraud within the social housing system and will take action against those found to be subletting or lying to obtain properties.”

George Parkinson, Head of Housing Management at bpha, said: “Social housing is a limited resource in Bedfordshire and tenancy fraud, such as subletting, deprives people who are in genuine need of a home. We are pleased with the outcome of this case, and the property will now go to a family most in need on the Housing Register.”

Source

He has effectively been let off.

16 Dec 2014

Cornwall starts to catch up with illegal sub-letting

Only last month we wrote that news of keys amnesties had filtered through to Cornwall. Now someone there has admitted illegal sub-letting. In the tradition of Cornwall, though, she was given a conditional discharge.

In a first for Cornwall, a woman has been convicted of tenancy fraud for illegally moving out of and then subletting a council house.

Wendy Snowdon (42) formerly of Kinsman Estate, Bodmin pleaded guilty to one count of tenancy fraud.

In a prosecution led by Cornwall Council on behalf of Cornwall Housing Ltd, Miss Snowden admitted that she moved out of the property and sublet it without the landlord’s (Cornwall Housing Limited) consent in breach of an express term of the tenancy, knowing that such conduct amounted to a breach of a term of the tenancy.

The action was taken under new 'Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act legislation'.

Miss Snowdon was given 12 month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay Cornwall Council’s full investigation and legal costs of £1,322.90 and a £15 victim surcharge.

Cornwall Council’s corporate fraud team and Cornwall Housing Ltd have been working in partnership since August 2014 to tackle tenancy fraud and have recently announced that there will be key amnesty in January and February 2015 to give those who are abusing the system the opportunity to come clean and avoid possible prosecution.

Joyce Duffin, Cornwall Council cabinet member for housing and environment, said: “It costs on average £18,000 a year to house a family in temporary accommodation. There is huge pressure on the supply of social housing making it imperative that the housing we do have available goes to people in genuine need of help. It’s totally wrong for people not to be living in housing intended for them and to be potentially illegally profiting from it at the same time.”

Jane Barlow, Managing Director of Cornwall Housing said: “Cornwall Housing has been working in partnership with Cornwall Council’s experienced Corporate Fraud Team and three homes have already been identified that we believe have been illegally sub-let.

"This prosecution shows that this type of activity will not be tolerated by Cornwall Housing Ltd.

"We have announced that we will be running a key amnesty in January and February 2015 as we have seen evidence of how introducing a key amnesty has worked well in other parts of the country. By bringing the issue to the public’s attention, other authorities saw an increase in referrals to its tenancy fraud hotline and we hope to see the same results here as we know that the overwhelming majority of residents live in their homes legally and that they share our commitment to tackling tenancy fraud.

"I would also encourage anyone who suspects someone of committing tenancy fraud to get in touch.”

Source

5 Mar 2014

Another Cornish benefit thief gets conditional discharge

Magistrates in Cornwall have yet again given a conditional discharge to a benefit thief, this time someone who stole over £24,786 from us.

Shirley Edwards, 52, from Lostwithiel pleaded guilty to offences of making false statements when claiming Housing and Council Tax Benefit in 2009.

It had been identified that when Mrs Edwards had made a claim for benefit in January 2009, she had failed to disclose on the benefit claim form, that she had an ISA containing capital in excess of the limits for receiving means tested benefits and also that she co-owned a property.

After taking into account the early guilty plea, magistrates sentenced Mrs Edwards to a three year conditional discharge.

Mrs Edwards was also ordered to pay the council’s investigation costs of £936.38 - but that actually was the sum total of her punishment. Cornwall Council may proclaim that it operates a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to fraud and corruption, but the magistrates are doing hardly anything to discourage this crime.

The £24,786.87 housing and council tax benefit overpaid as result of Mrs Edwards failing to declare her savings and property has been repaid in full.

21 Feb 2014

Conditional discharges for benefit thieves

A woman who admitted benefit fraud has been given a two-year conditional discharge by magistrates in Preston.

Kelly Johnson, 29, from Holme Slack, Preston, admitted failing to notify the DWP promptly when her domestic circumstances changed. She was living with a boyfriend, who worked full time,and this was said to have affected her income support entitlement. Johnson was also ordered to pay £85 costs.

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A man found guilty of stealing £3,531 in benefits from Melton Council has been sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge.

Philip John Craddock, 49, was found guilty of three charges of benefit fraud when he appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court. He was found guilty of claiming housing and council tax benefit, after making a false declaration by failing to report he had started full-time employment for Rutland Water Cycling Limited in 2011, and for failing to report a change in his wife’s employment in 2010. As well as having to pay back all of the money he falsely claimed, Craddock was given a conditional discharge, ordered to pay £75 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

A Melton Council spokesman said:
Mr Craddock failed three opportunities given to him to attend the council offices for an interview about this matter and his case was progressed for prosecution. There are no excuses for benefit fraud - it is a crime.
And he got a slap on the wrist.