Guilty of Housing Fraud
Woman caught by Ealing's housing officers
A woman who applied for an Ealing council home whilst sub letting another has lost both homes and been fined £800.
Evelyn Asirifi of Ruislip Road, Greenford, was sentenced at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on Friday, 26 June, after pleading guilty to two accounts of housing fraud at Ealing Magistrates' Court.
Despite already having a council tenancy in Southwark, Mrs Asirifi also applied to Ealing Council for social housing. She claimed that her private rented accommodation in Greenford, where she lived with her husband and three children, was overcrowded.
However, Ealing Council’s housing fraud investigation team discovered the tenancy in Southwark and suspected she was illegally renting this out whilst living in Greenford. The discovery was made because council officers consistently check with other council’s housing departments, and various agencies, in an effort to stop housing and benefit fraud before it happens.
Councillor Jasbir Anand, cabinet member for housing, employment and skills, said: “Thanks to the diligence of our officers Mrs Asirifi not only failed to get her hands on the keys to a council home in Ealing, she was also forced to hand in the keys to the property in Southwark. The message here is very clear: If you attempt to commit housing fraud we will catch you.”
Mrs Asirifi was fined a total of £400 for two offences under the 2006 Fraud Act, ordered to pay costs of £378 and a victim surcharge of £20. Mrs Asirifi has been removed from the housing register and her family remain in private rented accommodation.
Councillor Anand added: “We're doing everything we can to increase the supply of much-needed affordable housing in Ealing. That work includes catching and prosecuting those whose fraudulent activity is depriving those families who are in genuine need.”
Anyone with information about suspected housing or benefit fraud should call the council’s 24-hour fraud hotline on 0800 328 6453, where they can provide information anonymously. Alternatively, people can report fraud by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
13th July 2015