Tenant prosecuted after fraudulently sub-letting property

Published:
CWH Logo

A CityWest Homes tenant has been successfully prosecuted after it was found that she was actually living in Swansea and fraudulently subletting the London property.
 
Ms Shanaz Rahman, who was once a tenant at Scott Ellis Gardens, in Westminster, was prosecuted after a two day trial that took place at Southwark Crown Court on 5th and 6th April 2018.
 
Ms Rahman was found guilty of four charges in respect of the Fraud Act 2006, with two counts of fraud by false representation and two counts of fraud by failing to disclose information. On each of the two counts of fraud by false representation, Ms Rahman was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years. On each of the two counts of fraud by failing to disclose information, Ms Rahman was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years. She was additionally ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and to comply with 10 days of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.
 
The prosecution was undertaken by Westminster City Council’s Legal Services after
Ms Rahman submitted a Right to Buy application in June 2016 for the property at Scott Ellis Gardens.  As is standard practice for such applications, it was referred to the Corporate Anti-Fraud Service (CAFS) in order to undertake some checks to ensure Miss Rahman was eligible for the right to buy. Part of these checks involved un-notified visits which found the property to be occupied by someone else.
 
An investigation established that Ms Rahman was subletting the property for £1,175 per calendar month while she was living in Swansea. She appeared to have been living there since at least October 2014 having sublet the Westminster property to other individuals over that period of time.
 
Andrew Smith, WCC Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer services, said:
 
“Being a tenant does not give people the right to sublet, to fraudulently earn money and prevent someone else having a much-needed home. It is great to see that the checks worked and the subsequent prosecution was brought preventing further abuse to the system.”
 
Jonathan Cowie, CWH Chief Executive, said:
 
“We are really pleased that we were able to successfully win the prosecution. Using Proceeds of Crime legislation, we are now seeking to confiscate the £23,780 which Miss Rahman received as rent from the subtenants. In addition Ms Rahman has also returned possession of the property so it is now available to someone in greater need of a home.”