A three-bedroom council house has been freed-up for a family in need after Hillingdon Council discovered in 2018 a fraudster had been living there illegally for years.
The result follows a long-running legal battle with a Bangladeshi national who’d entered the UK in 1993 on a stolen identity, using someone else’s passport.
Uxbridge County Court had been told the resident, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had presented to the council as homeless, along with her four children, back in 2002. She was offered temporary accommodation, then placed on the council’s waiting list, where she later made a successful bid for a three-bedroom property in Uxbridge, in August 2003.
In 2018 the council’s housing team was made aware the resident was under investigation by the council’s counter fraud team for deception and that criminal proceedings were being brought against her and her husband.
In 2019 she was charged with, and later admitted, claiming social security benefits that she wasn’t entitled to, totalling more than £234,000 and was later sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Following her conviction, the council instructed its legal services team to obtain possession of the property, however the tenant refused to give it back and a legal wrangle ensued which lasted four years. She was finally evicted on 19 April this year.
Cllr Martin Goddard, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “This is a really quite remarkable story of a resident’s two decades of deception and the following four-year legal saga that has fortunately ended with freeing-up a vital home that can go to a family in genuine need from our waiting list.
“I thank our fraud and legal teams for their unwavering work to get this result, which demonstrates our dogged determination to pursue and take action against those who seek to swindle the council.”