Women jailed for Barking and Dagenham housing fraud
PUBLISHED: 18:51 11 May 2015 | UPDATED: 18:51 11 May 2015
A woman has been jailed for 18 months in the borough’s first ever criminal conviction for housing fraud.
Former Barking and Dagenham council tenant Olufolake Opaleye, 48, received an 18 month custodial sentence at Wood Green Court on on Monday for three offences – two under the Theft Act and one under the Fraud Act.
The fraud began 15 years ago when she obtained a tenancy with the council yet failed to declare that she already had signed for a tenancy with Tower Hamlet’s council just two months before.
Opaleye managed to keep both properties for 13 years before she was sussed out – and also purchased a property in Tilbury in 2004 in which she lived.
In 2011 she even obtained managed to obtain a decant – a process whereby a tenant is required to leave their council home while work is carried out – and received £4,700 in compensation from the council in return.
At this point she still failed to declare her multiple tenancies.
The case came to light during an investigation into claims that her Tower Hamlet’s property had been sublet for the entire period of her tenancy.
And it was during the investigation, which began following the woman’s admission that she had never moved into the Tower Hamlets property, that it was discovered that in actual fact she had two existing tenancies.
In addition to Opaleye’s conviction, the council is also planning to instigate confiscation proceedings in an attempt to recover the money that she gained as a result of the fraud and theft.
The case is due to be heard in court in December.
Cllr Saima Ashraf, deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Council and cabinet member for housing, said: “We are delighted with this sentence and we will not rest until we reclaim every penny with interest made out of Ms Opaleye’s ill gotten gains. Barking and Dagenham will not tolerate greedy, rogue tenants.”
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