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Showing posts with label tip off. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tip off. Show all posts

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

17 Nov 2017

17 month investigation for social housing fraud

Reading Borough Council shows how to make a mountain out of a molehill. This just is not competent, cost-effective enforcement.

They didn't even discover the offence for themselves, it came as a result of a tip off.


A tenant who illegally sub-let his council flat has been convicted of fraud and ordered to pay hundreds of pounds. (h/t Tenancy Fraud)

Victor Carrington, formerly of Granville Road, admitted to two counts of fraud at Reading Magistrates' Court on November 10 after being under the microscope since November 2015.

He was fined a total of £743, with an additional £600 in costs awarded to Reading Borough Council.

The council's fraud investigation team had a tip-off from concerned residents.

Carrington had been a council tenant since 2005, but after leaving the address, he sub-let the property to his friend without informing the council that he was no longer living there.

Reading Borough Council leader Jo Lovelock said:
There has never been more demand for social housing and the council has duty to ensure social homes are available to those that need them. This prosecution shows the council will not tolerate tenancy fraud. The council will investigate all cases robustly and where offences are uncovered take the necessary legal action to recover the property.
During a 17-month investigation, housing officers used banking and CCTV evidence.

When they arranged to visit the property, Carrington ensured he was available to see them and completed false statements confirming he still lived at the address.

He also failed to disclose that someone else was living at the flat.

The property has now been let to another council tenant after being returned to the council in June.

Carrington admitted one count of fraud and another of prevention of social housing fraud.

Source

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

31 Mar 2015

Costs order for social housing fraud

A family have been evicted from the three-bedroom house they were living in and ordered to pay £30,000 after it was discovered the social housing tenant who was supposed to be living there was actually living somewhere else.

Following an anonymous tip-off, Circle Housing worked alongside Hackney Council’s fraud investigations team and found the home in Forston Street, Shoreditch, was occupied by Margaret Nelson’s daughter Amanda Murray, 51, and her family, while 73-year-old Mrs Nelson – the tenant – lived in Sunnyhill Close with her husband.

Mrs Nelson, her daughter, and her husband Liam Murray, 52, and son Lee Murray, 29, were ordered to pay costs of £30,000 at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 11.

Under the recently introduced Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, tenancy fraud is now a criminal offence that can lead to a two-year prison sentence and unlimited fine.

Mrs Nelson was accused of a “breathtaking” scope of lies, including that she was unable to read, whilst her daughter was accused of “lying like a trooper”.

Although Circle Housing Circle 33 conceded that Mrs Nelson was a regular visitor to Forston Street, it says she had not lived there for at least a decade.

Defence counsel argued that the fact Mrs Nelson stayed overnight in Sunnyhill Close did not necessarily mean that Forston Street was not her main home, and criticised a “flawed investigation”.

Avril Drummond, customer service manager for Circle Housing Circle 33, said housing fraud is taken “very seriously”.

She added: “Every home not occupied by the registered tenant costs taxpayers around £18,000 a year and prevents families on the waiting list and in need of a home from moving into a property. This case demonstrates the important role played by the local community as well as the local authorities in tackling tenancy fraud.”

The social housing property is now back in Circle Housing’s possession and will be made available to someone in genuine need of social housing.

In three years Circle Housing Circle 33 has recovered more than 200 homes.

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 suits their needs.