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Jailed housing fraudsters hit with £38,000 bill

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Jailed housing fraudsters hit with £38,000 bill

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal, Local Government

Jailed housing fraudsters hit with £38,000 bill Jailed housing fraudsters hit with £38,000 bill

A pair of jailed housing fraudsters have been ordered to pay back £38,000.

Emmanuel Ekwegbalu and his wife Ada Nwachukwu were imprisoned last year after being found guilty of obtaining a right to buy property by deception.

Ekwegbalu, 46, was given a 20 months sentence, whilst Nwachukwu, 41, was sent down for 24 months by Blackfriars Crown Court last year.

The investigation was led by Southwark Council which had originally sought to recover around £45,000 from the couple under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, relating to the criminal benefits associated with the right to buy.

Last week, Judge Gill at Kingston Crown Court made a confiscation order of £45,430.47 against Ekwegbalu and gave him six months to pay back the amount, £38,000 of which was awarded as compensation to the council. A confiscation order for £645 was made against Nwachukwu.

The case came to the council's tenant attention when Ekwegbalu's tenant claimed that he was being illegally evicted.

Detective Constable Roger Noakes, from the MPS in Southwark 's Financial Investigation unit, said: "The Metropolitan Police is committed to ensuring criminals are deprived of the financial benefits of their crimes."

Councillor Ian Wingfield, cabinet member for housing, said: "I am extremely pleased with this result and we hope it sends a clear message to anyone thinking of obtaining a property by false means in Southwark. We will prosecute and ensure that any gains from illegal activity are recovered, months or years after the crime itself.

"There are over 20,000 people in dire need of housing accommodation across the borough, so to obtain a home by deception then profit from it while other, genuine, applicants wait legally for a home is outrageous and immoral.

"This has been a very successful joint partnership in terms of the investigation itself and bringing the matter before the courts. We will continue to come down hard on anyone found to be illegally obtaining housing or supplying falsified documents to the council, or any other government authority.

"As a social housing landlord, Southwark Council work closely with the Police to robustly pursue those who falsify documents and obtain housing by deception."

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