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Showing posts with label illegal sub-letting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label illegal sub-letting. Show all posts

10 Oct 2018

Tenant admits illegal sub-letting & 'right to buy' fraud

A father has admitted fraudulently trying to buy his Kilburn council flat under the government’s right-to-buy scheme – despite having lived in Watford for five years.

Ryan Cooper lived in Camden Council’s Casterbridge block in Abbey Road for more than a decade.

He was given the lease to the council flat in 2001, but ceased living there in October 2013.

At Highbury Corner magistrates’ court Cooper pleaded guilty to two charges and he will be sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on a date to be determined.

Along with the right-to-buy fraud, Cooper was convicted of illegally sub-letting the Abbey Road flat for five years between 2013 and 2018 after he moved to out to live with his wife and young son.

Camden Council has also made an unlawful profit order in hope of recovering £36,000 – the estimated difference between what he made in rent and what he was paying the council – from Cooper.

The defendant spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth and to enter his guilty pleas.

Prosecuting on behalf of Camden Council, Edward Sarkis told magistrates: “Under the fraud act, you are looking at medium-to-high culpability here.

“The second offence saw Mr Cooper submit a right-to-buy application. The application should be from someone who had actually been living in the property, but Mr Cooper had been living in Watford with his wife and child.”

Mr Sarkis added: “Having had the lease since 2001, he would have been in line for a considerable discount under right-to-buy.”

Defending, Jeffrey Lewis said; “Obviously Mr Cooper should get credit for his guilty pleas. He also handed back the keys to the property – Camden did not have to seek a possession order.

“At the end of the day we are talking about a man of good character, and I hope to prove this whether in this court or another.”

As he bailed Cooper to appear at Blackfriars Crown Court for sentencing, the lead sitting magistrate said: “We are talking about potential loss to Camden Council, but more properly the loss to the person on the council housing waiting list who should have been in that property.”

Source

27 Sep 2018

Three court hearings & mild punishment for social housing frauds

A tenant of Hackney Council has been forced to pay nearly £148,000, after an investigation found he had been illegally subletting his property whilst living elsewhere.

A shockingly large amount of money.

Jeremy Matuba pleaded guilty in August to three criminal offences under the Fraud Act 2006 related to subletting his home and providing false information on two right to buy applications.

Matuba received a two year suspended prison sentence, 250 hours community service and a three month curfew.

The criminal prosecution followed separate proceedings in the civil court to end the tenancy, which resulted in an award of outright possession to the council.

This legal procedure forces inefficient use of taxpayers' money.

A confiscation order under the proceeds of crime act was made against Mr Matuba at Snaresbrook Crown Court on September 19 for £147,998.97.

Here we are again - a third court hearing.

Ian Williams, the council’s corporate finance director, said: “Hackney is determined to ensure that our social housing is used for those genuinely in need of housing assistance.

“We will continue to use all available powers to take a firm stance against those involved in the subletting of social housing, which not only deprives families of permanent accommodation, but also places a significant financial burden on the council at a time when we are already working hard to deliver services that are valued by our residents, despite reduced budgets.”

Source

19 Sep 2018

Jail for illegal sub-letting

A housing association tenant has been sentenced to 14 months in jail after being caught subletting.

Anthony Rose, 45, illegally sublet his housing association property for more than six years.

Rose obtained the one-bedroom property from the Hyde Group in December 1996.

Hyde became suspicious of subletting when staff visited the property in April 2017 and found a woman living alone at the address.

Hyde’s tenancy team asked Greenwich Council's anti-fraud team to investigate and they visited the property and met with the current occupant.

She confirmed she had been living there since October 2015 and was paying a monthly rent of £800 to her landlord, Rose.

Council investigators also found that prior to his current tenant Rose had also sublet the property to various other people from July 2011 and that his bank accounts showed a rental income from July 2011 to December 2017 totalling more than £57,000.

In January 2018 council investigators invited Rose for interview, but he refused on advice from his lawyer.

He then claimed the woman living at the property was his girlfriend and he was living there with her, but this was denied by his tenant.

In March, after being shown the evidence against him, Rose offered to return the keys to the property.

He asked that no proceedings be taken as he did not want a criminal record, but he was taken to court.

Rose appeared at Woolwich Crown Court and pleaded guilty to offences relating to the Fraud Act 2006 and the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.

Councillor Christine Grice, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “Mr Rose deprived genuine people of much-needed accommodation for many years and made a substantial profit from his despicable actions.

"The council has submitted an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to recover the money Mr Rose made from the illegal subletting.

"Just because you give the keys back doesn’t mean you won’t be prosecuted and lose the profits of any illegal activities.”

Source

18 Sep 2018

Tory council candidate had social housing fraud conviction

A Conservative party candidate for this year’s local election has a criminal conviction for tenancy and benefit fraud.

A BBC investigation showed how Richard Kays, also known as Richard Kagumya, illegally sublet a council property in Ilford, making £400 per month in unlawful profits back in 2016.

But his previous conviction only came to light in a BBC documentary broadcast on Monday, September 10.

Despite his criminal conviction, Mr Kays was still selected by the Conservative Party to stand as a local election candidate in Wanstead Park ward in May this year. He was unsuccessful.

He also ran an event for the party in the Houses of Parliament.

In 2016, the 29-year-old had also wrongfully claimed housing benefit of £400 per month whilst charging his sub-tenant £800 per month to live in the council property.

According to the BBC, his total profits from the illegal subletting and fraudulent housing benefit claims over a five month period came to more than £5,000.

Mr Kays was alleged to have shown no remorse for his crimes and was labelled “arrogant” by those prosecuting him.

At the time, he was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid community work and had to repay costs of almost £2,000 to Redbridge Council and more than £5,000 to the housing association involved.

Earlier this summer, Mr Kays also organised and ran a children’s Question Time-style panel event in the Houses of Parliament for the Conservative party.

At the time, the event was criticised for the panel’s lack of diversity. Every panel member was affiliated with the Conservative party, all were white and only one of panellists was a woman.

Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, was chairman of the children’s Question Time panel and had been invited to chair proceedings by Richard Kays.

Mr Duncan Smith said: “I understand Richard Kays was a member of the Leyton and Wanstead Constituency Association but that he is no longer a member. As I understand it Leyton and Wanstead did not know he had a conviction, it is of course quite wrong for someone to join the Conservative Association and stand for council, without informing the Party of any criminal offence. Each Conservative Association is responsible for their own membership reporting to Conservative Central Office. ”

In Redbridge, social housing makes up just 12 per cent of the council’s housing stock and there are currently 2,200 homeless families in the borough living in temporary housing in the borough, waiting for a permanent council home.

Cllr Linda Huggett, leader of the Redbridge Conservative group, said she played no part in Mr Kays’ selection earlier this year.

She said: “The matter has been referred to the Press Office at Conservative Campaign Head Quarters. At present I have no further comment to make.”

Cllr Paul Canal, former leader of the Conservative group, has been contacted for comment.

Harriet Bailey, a spokesman for the national Conservative party, said: “Richard Kays has resigned from the party.”

Source

A chancer

30 Aug 2018

Light sentence for illegal subletting

A homeless woman who was given a Derby Homes property has been dealt with in court after being caught sub-letting it to another family.

"Selfish" Marinela Langenbucher was given the property in October 2016 after becoming homeless in July 2016.

But she later illegally sub-let the home to a friend and moved to Shropshire with her family from August 2017.

Langenbucher's scheme started to come to an end when somebody phoned Derby City Council querying the council tax charge for the property.

The authority's counter fraud team was brought in and investigated and found Langenbucher had moved to Shropshire and had been sub-letting the property out which was a breach of her tenancy agreement.

She was interviewed under caution by the counter fraud specialists for failing to notify Derby Homes of the change.

She was summoned to a hearing at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court on Thursday, August 2. She pleaded guilty to an offence under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.

She was handed a £168 fine and ordered to pay £150 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge. Derby Homes has recovered the home, which is now being occupied by another family.

The city council said Langenbucher did not make a financial gain from the scheme but, by allowing her friend to live at the property, she has deprived another person or family who would be entitled to social housing accommodation.

Councillor Roy Webb, cabinet member for adults, health and housing at Derby City Council, is now urging people to blow the whistle on any residents they suspect are illegally sub letting their council property.

He said: “When social housing is in demand and we have waiting lists for accommodation this behaviour is selfish. Not only are people on our waiting lists being denied much needed homes but sub tenants are being put at risk of losing what they believe is their home. If we suspect that our properties are being sub-let, we will investigate and will prosecute if we have the evidence. I would encourage residents to use Derby Homes whistleblowing process if they suspect a property is being sub-let.”

Source

7 Jun 2018

Small fine for sub-letting council flat

A council house tenant has been fined after admitting subletting his Exeter home.

Dave Kelly, from Farnborough, admitted subletting his council flat in Clifton Road, Exeter, from September 28 2014 until August 2016.


He pleaded guilty to the offence at Plymouth Magistrates Court and was fined £325, ordered to pay back the £5,985 he gaoned by subletting the property, a victim surcharge of £32 and £450 costs.

The court heard that at the time of the offence, Kelly was working away in Hampshire where he was staying with his girlfriend.

He decided to sublet his council property to a friend of his mother and arranged for the unlawful sub-tenant to pay £540 a month into his bank account. This amount was later increased to £590 and then £610 a month.

An investigation, carried out by Plymouth City Council Fraud Team on behalf of the Devon Tenancy Fraud Group, was started after an anonymous telephone caller alleged that the tenant was not occupying the property but was instead sub-letting it to someone else.

After the case, an Exeter City Council spokesman said that social housing fraud costs the UK economy £1.8 billion a year:
At a time when social housing is at a premium, this criminal behaviour is totally unacceptable. Exeter City Council has a zero tolerance approach to fraud and will continue to protect the public purse. Fraudulent activity diverts money and resources from those who legitimately have need of council services and contributes to higher council tax bills.
Source

29 May 2018

Woman fined for illegal sub-letting

A Sheffield woman has been fined almost £10,000 for illegally sub-letting her council house, while she was living in a housing association property nearby.

Haffiza Khan, 49, sub-let her council tenancy at Netherthorpe while living in a South Yorkshire Housing Association property nearby.

Khan pleaded guilty to unlawfully subletting her council tenancy during a hearing at Sheffield Magistrates' Court. She received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay back £8740 for unlawfully subletting as well as £150 costs in costs and a victim surcharge of £20.

Mrs Khan gave notice on her council tenancy in December last year following an interview under caution where evidence of the sub-letting allegation was presented to her.

Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “Social housing provides security and stability to millions of families. There is an ever-increasing demand for social housing and Sheffield City Council is committed to investigating all suspected cases of tenancy fraud to ensure properties are lawfully occupied. We are pleased that Mrs Khan acknowledged her wrong-doing at an early opportunity and hope this sentence will discourage others from profiting in this way, enabling homes to go to the people who need them most.”

Unlawful subletting is when a tenant lets out their council home without the knowledge or permission of their local authority or landlord. The tenant will often continue to pay rent whilst charging the sub-tenant a much higher rent and may also have requested the sub-tenant pay a ‘bond’, something which a local authority does not request of its tenants.

Subletting a council tenancy is in breach of the Council’s Conditions of Tenancy and is also a criminal offence covered by the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013. As a result of this legislation those found guilty of unlawfully subletting a Council tenancy can face hefty fines, a criminal record and in extreme cases a possible prison sentence. Sheffield City Council has a zero tolerance of this offence and if found guilty the offender will also be excluded from the Council’s rehousing registration list.

Source

lllegal sub-letting of social housing is a wicked crime. It's not just the (considerable amount of) money - people and families who need a home are being deprived of it.

23 Apr 2018

Small fine for 2 years' illegal sub-letting

A council house tenant has been fined for subletting following an investigation by Plymouth anti-fraud detectives.

Dean Kelly admitted subletting his council flat in Clifton Road, Exeter, from 28 September 2014 until August 2016.

The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to the offence at Plymouth Magistrates Court and was fined £325, ordered to pay back the £5,985 he benefited from by subletting the property, a victim surcharge of £32 and £450 costs.

The court heard that at the time of the offence, Kelly was working away in the county where he was staying with his girlfriend.

He decided to sublet his council property to a friend of his mother and arranged for the unlawful sub-tenant to pay £540 a month into his bank account.

This amount was later increased to £590 and then £610 a month.

An investigation, carried out by Plymouth City Council's Fraud Team on behalf of the Devon Tenancy Fraud Group, was started after an anonymous telephone caller alleged that the tenant was not occupying the property but was instead sub-letting it to someone else.

Ken Johnson, Corporate Fraud Team Manager, said: “This case is yet another successful prosecution against a social housing fraudster, in this case one who was making a profit at the expense of those in genuine need. Fraudsters divert money and resources from already pressurised front line council services and should not be tolerated. This and other results should serve notice on offenders that we will not only combat fraud in Plymouth but across the region.”

After the case, an Exeter City Council spokesman said that social housing fraud costs the UK economy £1.8 billion a year.

“At a time when social housing is at a premium, this criminal behaviour is totally unacceptable," he said.

“Exeter City Council has a zero tolerance approach to fraud and will continue to protect the public purse. Fraudulent activity diverts money and resources from those who legitimately have need of council services and contributes to higher council tax bills."

Source

17 Apr 2018

Social housing fraudster must pay £54k

A social housing fraudster has been found guilty of illegally sub-letting a home in Islington.

Patrick Ofori-Sampong, 50, was found to have two homes, one with Peabody and one with another landlord in Waltham Forest.

He was illegally subletting the Peabody property while living in another he bought under Right to Buy. He was exploiting a sub-tenant who was paying him inflated rent.

He pleaded guilty to one offence under the housing fraud act and one under the prevention of social housing fraud act last month and was given a two year sentence suspended for 18 months, meaning he avoids jail.

Ofori-Sampong must also do 180 hours of unpaid work, pay an unlawful profit order of £5,100 and pay Peabody £45,000 compensation within six months, as well as £4,000 in costs. He surrendered his tenancy, freeing up the property for someone on the 18,000-strong council waiting list.

Last year the council only let 1,172 properties – to 6 per cent of applicants. The Audit Commission has estimated tenancy fraud costs the taxpayer £1.8bn a year and could amount to as many as 160,000 fraudulent tenancies in London.

Andrew Jeffries, Peabody’s tenancy fraud chief said: “We are pleased to have recovered this property so we can provide a decent and much needed home to someone from the Islington Council housing waiting list. Anybody who tries to defraud the public out of social housing can expect to be prosecuted and incur significant costs.”

Source

Social housing fraud is the most wicked form of welfare fraud. The sums that can be saved are huge, but it's so much more than the money - needy families are being deprived of the chance to have a settled home that meets their needs.

29 Mar 2018

Celebrity stylist fined for illegal sub-letting

A celebrity fashion stylist boosted his earnings by illegally subletting his council flat while he was away working for Prada in Milan, a court heard.

Marvin Maddix, 27, posted online adverts for a tenant at his Ealing council home, offering a short-term rental of the one-bedroom flat between January and April last year.

Despite paying just £81 a week in subsidised rent for the flat himself, Maddix — who boasts Victoria Beckham among his clients — charged his tenant £265 a week, more than three times as much.

Questioned by council officers who had spotted his adverts, he at first claimed he had been forced to leave the property because of racist and homophobic abuse from his neighbours.

Maddix, editor of fashion magazine FGUK, eventually accepted he had let it while away having an “amazing time” working for Prada. After a trial, Ealing magistrates found him guilty of subletting in breach of a tenancy. Meredoc McMinn, defending, said Maddix faces being evicted from his council home due to the conviction. The court heard he was housed by the council as a teenager after he had come out as gay and cut ties with his mother.

He graduated with a degree in fashion and media in 2013 and has built up a client list that includes Victoria Beckham’s New York business, model twins the Quann Sisters, singer-songwriter Sophie Beem and “hot felon” model Jeremy Meeks.

Prosecutor Hatoon Zeb said Maddix moved to the flat in Endsleigh Road, West Ealing, in 2011. When questioned last September, he initially denied illegally subletting or receiving rent but then said: “I’d found a job at Prada and it was an amazing time for me. I needed a bit of extra money while I was away.” Denying the charge in court, he said: “It was not about profit but covering my debt and not losing my home.” He said he stayed with the family of his Italian boyfriend Tom Cassani in Milan.

But magistrates rejected his claim of abuse from neighbours after hearing he had not complained to the council or police. “You must realise council property is scarce. There are vulnerable families with children and old people desperate for properties,” said magistrate Rita Biddulph.

“Families are stuck in hostels and much smaller accommodation, so you should be grateful. You must be one of the luckiest young men... to be given a lovely flat and you have made a profit from it.” She ordered Maddix to pay an unlawful profit order of £1,901 plus £1,750 in costs.

Source with pictures

19 Mar 2018

Deterrent sentence for illegal subletting

A housing officer who illegally sublet a council property she had never lived in has been jailed. (h/t tenancyfraud)

Julie Miah was handed a 12-month prison term and ordered to pay £17,000 in compensation after admitting she had never lived in the two-bed council property in East Finchley.

Harrow Crown Court was told how Miah was first given the keys to the council property in Prospect Ring in 2007 and immediately sublet it to a family member, while she moved into a house in Luton she had inherited.

Miah carried on the deception for 10 years until Barnet Council’s Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) launched an investigation in April last year after receiving a tip off suggesting the person living in the Barnet property was somebody else.

Counter-fraud investigators linked her to an address in Luton after piecing together a series of financial records which showed Miah had never lived in the property.

When interviewed under caution by counter-fraud officers, she admitted she had never lived in the flat and immediately agreed to hand back the keys.

Sentencing Miah at Harrow Crown Court on February 9, Judge Hall accepted the deception was the result of a great deal of planning by the 45-year-old, and that the nature of her work would have meant she was aware that her actions were dishonest.

Miah, who worked as a housing officer for Central Bedfordshire Council, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by failing to disclose information. In addition to the £17,000 she must pay in compensation, she was also ordered to pay £3,174 in costs.

Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Richard Cornelius, said: “At a time of significant housing pressures, it is totally unacceptable for someone to abuse the system in this way for so long, without ever having any intention of living in the property.

“Council homes are there for people in genuine need of housing, not for personal gain.

“I hope the custodial sentence and order for compensation handed down by the court in this case, sends out a very clear message about the consequences for anyone who might be contemplating something similar,” he added.

Source

27 Feb 2018

Housing officer jailed for illegal sub-letting

A housing officer who illegally sublet a council home has been jailed.

Julia Miah, 45, from Luton, was jailed for a year and ordered to pay £20,000 in compensation and £3,174 in costs after admitting she had never lived in a two-bed council property in East Finchley, which she was illegally subletting to a family member.

Miah was first given the keys to the council property in Prospect Ring in 2007, and immediately sublet it to a family member while she moved into a house in Luton which she jointly inherited.

She carried on the deception for 10 years, always declaring that she still lived in the property in East Finchley, but in April 2017 Barnet's Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) launched an investigation after receiving a tip.

When Miah was interviewed under caution by Barnet Council counter-fraud offences, she admitted she had never lived in the flat and immediately agreed to hand back the keys.

Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Richard Cornelius, said: "At a time of significant housing pressures, it is totally unacceptable for someone to abuse the system in this way for so long, without ever having any intention of living in the property. Council homes are there for people in genuine need of housing, not for personal gain. I hope the custodial sentence and order for compensation handed down by the court in this case, sends out a very clear message about the consequences for anyone who might be contemplating something similar."

Miah admitted to three counts of fraud by failing to disclose information.

Source

20 Nov 2017

Warwick DC discovers illegal sub-letting

On October 26, at Warwickshire Magistrates Court, Mark Skinner, 36, was prosecuted for illegally subletting his council home in Princes Street, Leamington.

Skinner vacated the Warwick District Council owned home in 2014 and now lives in Batley, West Yorkshire, but instead of informing the council, he allowed a tenant to move into the property, and sublet from him to avoid being placed on a waiting list for the council’s housing scheme.

The conviction, believed to be the first of its kind in Warwickshire since the introduction of the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, was made following a six month investigation by the council’s Fraud Team.

Skinner was ordered to pay a fine, victim surcharge and court costs.

Councillor Peter Phillips, Warwick District Council’s portfolio holder for housing services, said: “The council has an agreed priority allocation scheme which aims to provide homes to those with the greatest need. I very much hope that this conviction sends a stark warning that illegally subletting or any other act of fraud against the council and our residents will not be tolerated.”

10 Nov 2017

Jail after illegal sub-letting

Mustafa Mustafa, 33, has been jailed following a successful prosecution by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

In March 2014 Mustafa obtained a one-bedroom council property at Middle Park Avenue, but the council received information alleging he no longer lived at the property and was subletting to others.

Financial enquiries identified Mustafa had received regular payments into his bank account and from April 2014 to October 2016 he had payments in excess of £10,000 with over £2,000 of this described as ‘rent’ on bank statements.

Enquiries also identified Mustafa had spent at least 17 months out of the UK since April 2014.

In November 2016 Royal Borough investigators visited the property and spoke with a male who confirmed his wife and child had been residing there since August 2014 and that he paid his wife’s monthly rent of £700 to her landlord, Mr Mustafa. He confirmed that he had also paid Mr Mustafa an initial payment of £2,150 to cover the deposit, one month’s rent and to cover the costs of the credit checks and references on his wife Mustafa stated he needed to undertake.

In January 2017 council investigators interviewed Mustafa under caution. He admitted shortly after obtaining the council property he had gone to live in Northern Cyprus and been abroad at least a-year-and-a-half. Mustafa was shown evidence of his subletting but denied he made any money from it and he had allowed a friend of a friend to stay.

But when shown documents bearing his signature relating to the £2,150 payment from his tenant he agreed that this was his writing. Mr Mustafa confirmed that he had never lived at the Middle Park Avenue property and allowed others to live there while he was out of the UK.

Enquiries also found Mustafa claimed Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support from March 2014 to February 2016 and he had not declared he was not living at the property and had sublet it to others.

He received benefits totalling almost £9,000 that he was not entitled to receive.

After the interview Mr Mustafa returned the keys to the property which was re-allocated to a person in genuine need. On October 24 Mustafa pleaded guilty to four charges at Woolwich Crown Court and sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.

The court also heard offences committed by Mr Mustafa fell within a period of a suspended prison sentence for other offences and he was jailed for a further 17 weeks.

Councillor Maureen O’Mara is cabinet member for customer services and anti-fraud. She said: “Mr Mustafa’s actions were shameful and I am pleased they led to prison. Let this be a warning to others who think subletting much-needed council property is acceptable.”

Source

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

18 Oct 2017

Tenancy fraud & right to buy fraud in Bassetlaw

A Bassetlaw A1 Housing tenant who was living and studying overseas for a number of years has been booted out of the property in a crackdown which has seen three fraudulent tenancies terminated.

An investigation was launched after the A1 Housing tenant applied to buy the property through the Right to Buy scheme - but it was suspected that it was not their main property.

It emerged that the tenant was "spending a considerable amount of time outside of the UK" and that they had been "living and attending university abroad for the majority of their time over a number of years".

Joint investigations by Bassetlaw District Council’s Fraud Investigations Team and A1 Housing - who manage the council's housing stock - uncovered the case and two other cases of tenancy fraud. All three resulted in voluntary terminations of the tenancies.

In the second case, the investigation team uncovered evidence that suggested a tenant was subletting their property. At an interview under caution the tenant admitted that their family had not been living at the property for the last 18 months.

And in the third case, housing officers had suspicions that the male tenant was subletting when, during a routine visit, only women's belongings could be seen in the flat. After initially denying the fraud, the tenant terminated the tenancy and returned the keys to A1 Housing.

Cllr Steve Scotthorne, cabinet member for Housing at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “Tenancy Fraud is illegal and deprives genuine tenants access to a home they may desperately need. The Council’s investigation team and A1 Housing will look closely into any suspicious circumstances and will not hesitate to recover a property, or pursue a criminal prosecution, should they find someone guilty of committing benefit fraud.”

None of the three tenants resulted in criminal prosecutions.

Tenancy cheats can face a fine of up to £50,000 and a prison sentence of up to two years if they are caught committing fraud. But the council says that should tenants voluntarily return the property back to them, they will not face any further legal action.

Tenancy fraud can include unlawfully subletting your property, dishonestly applying for a council property using someone else’s details or false information, continuing to live in a property if that person passes away and you do not have succession rights, or using someone else’s tenancy rights to put in a Right to Buy application.

Source

17 Oct 2017

200 hours' unpaid work for woman who illegally sublet council flat

A woman who pleaded guilty to dishonestly subletting her council flat is set to be stripped of the unlawful profit she made and will have to do 200 hours unpaid community work.

Suzie Litanda pleaded guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court to twice subletting the whole of a council studio flat in Leather Lane between December 2013 and February 2016 and July and September 2016. During these periods she was living with her mother in a four bedroom council property, while charging the sub-tenants up to £850 a month in rent.

It's not obvious how you could sublet less than the whole of a studio flat - but "whole of" is becoming a legal quibble.

While recognising mitigating personal circumstances, the court considered the sub-letting offences under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 to be serious and ordered Ms Litanda to pay £600 costs in addition to the community service. Camden Council is now issuing civil proceedings to recover the £19,000 profit she made from the illegal sub-letting.

Magistrates should be able to make this order at the time - after all, it would have been the main penalty.

Councillor Meric Apak, Cabinet Member for Better Homes at Camden Council, said: “At a time of widespread calls for a national council house building programme, as many families struggle to find or afford suitable homes, it is both illegal and inexcusable for people to be profiting from subletting council homes that could be used by a family in need. I want to assure Camden residents we are committed to building a range of social and affordable housing through our Community Investment Programme and keeping our current council homes out of the hands of profiteers by taking those we suspect of breaking the rules to court.”

Source

16 Oct 2017

Guilty of illegal sub-letting, may face jail

A former champion boxer who became an Islamic extremist and ISIS supporter is facing jail for illegally sub-letting his home.

Anthony Small, 36, and his partner Maryam Malik, 25, charged nearly £1,000 a month to tenants living in two south London housing association properties, while the couple were receiving housing benefits.

Former British and Commonwealth boxing champion Small, who is also known as Abdul Haqq, starred last year in the BBC reality TV series, Muslims Like Us.

He was convicted of committing fraud which he used to help support his lifestyle.

He is a follower of the extremist preacher Anjem Choudary and has boasted online that he was labelled the 'ISIS boxer.'

Small was acquitted two years ago of using a false passport to try and leave the country in the back of a lorry to join the fighting in Syria.

Woolwich Crown Court heard that Small and Malik were living with her parents in Stoke-on-Trent after she had given birth to a baby in May last year. Small advertised his flat in Camberwell, south London and eventually let it out for £800 a month, even though he was still receiving £216 a month in housing benefit. Malik let out her flat in Sydenham, for about £900 a month in cash after answering an advert on Gumtree, while still receiving £502.80 in housing benefit.

The preacher would return to London for a few days a month to collect the rent and stay in a room at his flat, but his 'tenant' had the run of the rest of the apartment.

The tenants in both flats were apparently unaware of the illegal arrangement and Small had even drawn up a tenancy agreement that he had downloaded from the internet.

The scam was uncovered in August last year when Miss Malik arranged for a housing association engineer to attend one of the properties to fix a faulty boiler. The engineer realised the tenant had no idea the property was owned by a housing association and reported it to his bosses.

However, when they were caught out the pair then attempted to persuade two of their sub-tenants - one of whom was pregnant and due to give birth to a child with a heart defect - to leave. A tussle ensued with one of the tenants, who claimed he was punched to the ground.

Lesley Bates, prosecuting, said: 'This case is about two people who have taken advantage of a system which provides housing to those who need it and cannot afford to pay themselves. It is about two people who have sought to undermine that system by renting out the property they have been allocated and which is paid for by housing benefit, in order to obtain cash to line their own pockets.'

Small and Malik were each was found guilty of one count of fraud and one count of unlawful subletting.

They will be sentenced on November 2.

Source

6 Oct 2017

Light sentence for sub-letting mother

A mum who bought a house while illegally subletting two council properties has narrowly avoided going to jail.

Paula Callaway moved into a three bedroom house in Ravenoak Way, Chigwell, in 1999 - but didn’t tell the authorities when she bought a new house in Dunmow, Essex, in 2008.

She rented the Chigwell house out to her son and five other people, something which was in breach of her tenancy agreement with Moat Housing.

Then in 2012, she said she needed to downsize and asked the council if she could take part in a house swap.

This was approved and she pretended to “move in” to a one bedroom in Felstead Way, Loughton, but instead rented that property out, too.

But it then transpired she carried out the mutual exchange with her sister-in-law so she could move into a three-bedroom house.

After a five day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court Ms. Callaway was found guilty of two offences relating to social housing fraud.

Having previously pleaded guilty to the criminal offence of dishonestly subletting a property, she was sentenced with a 12 month suspended sentence on both counts of fraud, 150 hours community service and a victim surcharge.

The Judge stated: “You were given social housing once you had bought a home of your own. There is chronic shortage of social homes and you deprived a family from living in a home for six years. This went on far too long. It went on but you must know what you did was wrong.”

Source

Yes, this is a particularly nasty type of fraud on society. But she has scarcely been punished for it.

30 Aug 2017

Woman pays the penalty for illegal sub-letting

A mother-of-two who illegally sublet her flat has been convicted of social housing fraud and slapped with over £3,000 in fines and legal costs.

Racheal Panda Noah pleaded guilty on 22 August at Willesden Magistrates Court to letting out her property in Pinemartin Close, Cricklewood between 15 October 2013 and 22 March 2017.

During this period, Ms Panda Noah was taking rent from a relative at roughly the same amount that she was paying to her landlord, London and Quadrant.

But the tenancy agreement that Ms Panda Noah signed in 1995 stated that she had to use the flat as her main home, and that she needed to obtain written permission from her landlord if she wanted to sublet it.

Ms Panda Noah lives with her partner and two children, aged 10 and four, in Hazelbank Road, Hither Green in South East London.

District Judge Brennan said Ms Panda Noah's actions had denied Brent Council the ability to give the flat to someone who was genuinely entitled to it. She was fined £500 on top of an unlawful profit order of £1,170 and £1,350 in legal costs.

Good

Cllr Harbi Farah, Cabinet Minister for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: "People who play the social housing system for their own profit are depriving those with a genuine housing need. We are in a housing crisis where the waiting list for a three-bedroom council flat is 14 years."

Source

It's the long waiting list that makes this such a bad crime.