Fraudster jailed for lying to gain Barking council flat

John Walmalwa was jailed for 12 months

John Walmalwa was jailed for 12 months - Credit: PA WIRE

A fraudster who lied about his identity to gain a council property – and then sub-let it – has been jailed for a year.

John Walmalwa fooled the council to obtain the one bedroom flat in Cape Close, Barking, by providing a legitimate driving licence and birth certificate which belonged to someone else.

The man whose documents were used in the deception was unaware of the fraud until he was contacted by investigators.

Walmalwa, 43, was jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday after previously pleading guilty to obtaining services by deception and fraud by false representation.

Judge Neil Sanders said Walmalwa’s offending had been relatively sophisticated and fraudulent from the outset and noted that his dishonesty had prevented a genuinely homeless person from gaining somewhere to live.

The one bedroom flat has since been recovered and let to someone else on the housing waiting list in genuine need.

The case is one of several tenancy fraud prosecutions which have been brought by the council.

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Cllr Dominic Twomey, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “Council properties are precious and there for decent law-abiding people, not for greedy fraudsters and opportunists.

“I can assure residents we will relentlessly pursue them to make sure council homes go to those who really need them and have the right to live in one.”

You can report suspected tenancy fraud by emailing or calling 020 8227 2775.