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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > November 2016 > Social Housing Cheat

Social Housing Cheat

Social Housing Cheat Made to Pay £35,000

 

Local resident Omid Hashemi, of Alamein Avenue, Bedford, has been ordered to pay back almost £35,000 after being prosecuted for lying to obtain low cost social housing. Mr Hashemi was also sentenced to a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years.

 

Mr Hashemi was housed in social housing by bpha after claiming that he, his wife and his younger brother were living in overcrowded conditions.

 

However, an investigation by Bedford Borough Council revealed that Mr Hashemi owned a three bed house, purchased just 3 months before applying for housing, which he rented out for profit.

 

In February this year, Mr Hashemi, was prosecuted at Luton Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to 3 counts of fraud by false representation and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 2 years.

 

Following the conviction, joint working by Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Councils enabled an application to be made to seize Mr Hashemi’s assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The Court heard evidence that Mr Hashemi benefited from his crime and ordered him to pay almost £35,000, which represented all of his available assets. The amount must be paid within 3 months or Mr Hashemi will face 9 months in prison.

 

Portfolio Holder for Finance, Councillor Michael Headley, said: 'There are families across the Borough who genuinely need a place to call home and those who commit tenancy fraud take these homes from those most in need.'

'As well as disadvantaging other members of our community, tenancy fraud also increases pressure on other services at a time when Bedford Borough Council faces continued cuts in funding.'

 

If you suspect that someone may have lied on their application for housing, may have abandoned their property, or may be subletting their home please contact the Investigations Team by emailing Fraud@bedford.gov.uk and reporting your concerns, all calls/information provided will be handled in the strictest confidence. 

 

You can also confidentially report Tenancy Fraud to the Council:

 

•           By calling Freephone number 0800 917 8491

•           By visiting the Council’s Customer Care centre in Horne Lane

•           By filling in a form online at http://www.bedford.gov.uk/

 

You can also report any suspicions to bpha in confidence on 0330 100 0272 or email info@bpha.org.uk

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