A former employee at Southwark Council has been jailed for five years for her involvement in a housing fraud case involving 23 fake housing applications.
Trudy Ali-Balogun helped four people make fraudulent applications for homeless housing while working as a homeless caseworker from 2003 to 2005.
Ms Ali-Balogun used her knowledge of the housing legislation to ‘prove’ homelessness when each application should have been refused. The fake applications included false information and documentation such as false signatures, birth certificates, wage slips and passports. Many of the applicants were in the country unlawfully at the time
She has now been found guilty of misconduct in a public office and sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Fiona Colley, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for finance, modernisation and performance, said: ‘I’m glad that the penalty reflects the severity of the crimes committed and I hope this send out a clear message about just how seriously we take housing fraud. Southwark’s waiting list is filled with hundreds of people in genuine need of a home.
‘We will continue to cater to these people whilst also bringing those who take advantage of the system to justice.’
The four applicants also on trial were found guilty of obtaining services by deception and received prison sentences.
The council has now introduced a number of measures to combat housing fraud including a new web based anti-fraud prevention tool that shows if a property is part of council stock or if it is private.