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Enfield Council first in UK to use law to prosecute fraudster

Published Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Enfield Council has become the first Local Authority nationally to use new legislation to successfully prosecute a Housing Association tenant for unlawfully subletting her property.

Former London and Quadrant tenant Ms Yasmine Maya, of Marle Gardens, Waltham Abbey, was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court on 29 April after she had previously pleaded guilty to subletting her London and Quadrant flat at Lena Crescent, Edmonton, as well as admitting charges in relation to benefit fraud.

She was ordered to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work as well as receiving a sentence of 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Unlawful subletting of a social housing property became a criminal offence under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, and although Housing Associations cannot instigate proceedings themselves they can authorise a Local Authority to take action on their behalf.

Consequently when investigators from London and Quadrant became suspicious that Ms Maya as not living at her flat in Lena Crescent, they contacted their counterparts at Enfield Council and a joint investigation was undertaken.

As well as confirming the property had been unlawfully sublet by Ms Maya, who had represented herself to her subtenants as the owner of the Lena Crescent property, Enfield investigators also uncovered a benefit fraud to the value of £42k following Ms Maya’s failure to declare income from employment as well as savings held in undeclared bank accounts.

The London and Quadrant flat was recovered from Ms Maya last year, and the Council have been able to use the property to provide a home for someone in genuine need of assistance.

Cllr Andrew Stafford, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance said “Enfield Council has broken new ground by being the first local authority to use this new legislation to crack down on a benefit fraudster.

“Those that profit from subletting social housing are criminals so I am delighted we have been successful bringing this criminal to book.”

Cllr Ahmet Oykener, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Regeneration said “Subletting a council property denies housing to those most in need in the borough, and also lines the pockets of fraudsters who often let to unsuspecting people, who can then find themselves homeless when the fraud is discovered.

“Enfield Council regularly makes checks to ensure subletting doesn’t happen in our borough, and if anyone should suspect this is taking place they should report it straight away.”

You can report a housing fraud online, anonymously, via the Council’s website at Link

Customers who do not have access to the internet can call the Fraud Hotline on 0208 379 4028.

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