Westminster council tenant ordered to pay up in landmark housing fraud case

Following a landmark criminal prosecution under the Fraud Act in June 2012, Westminster City Council has now secured a court order to recover more than £10,000 in profits made by the former council tenant who fraudulently sub-let her W2 property.

Ms Kelly-Louise Goatley was housed in a property managed by CityWest Homes in 2000 in Gloucester Terrace near Paddington. But council fraud investigators found that she had sub-let the flat on at least two occasions, charging more than £1,400 a month in rent.

The fraud was brought to the council’s attention by a call to the Fraud Hotline. When the case was heard at Southwark Crown Court last year, she was sentenced to nine months in prison, which was suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 140 hours of community service.

This is the first housing case where the council has been successful in gaining a court order to make a former council tenant pay up. The defendant was also ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

Cllr Jonathan Glanz, Westminster Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Property, said: “Council properties are hard enough to find in Westminster and this woman deprived someone in real need through her selfish actions.
“We have now been able to give this property back to someone who genuinely needs it. Westminster will always help those in real housing need, but we will also take strong action against those who believe they can play the system for profit.”

Mark Hoyland, chief executive at CityWest Homes, the council’s housing arm said: “CityWest Homes has worked with the council to investigate more than 100 cases of potential fraud since April last year. Residents can play a very important part in helping us and the council to detect and combat fraud.

“We would urge any resident who thinks that someone may be fraudulently letting out their property to contact CityWest Homes or the council in confidence so that we can consider if the case needs further investigation.”

Residents who suspect that fraudulent activity is going on can call the council’s fraud hotline on: 020 7361 2777 or can report this online here.

Any information given will be treated in the strictest of confidence and callers do not even have to give their name.

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