BY NEWS REPORTER
A man has been handed a 12-month jail term for illegally subletting a council property.
Mustafa Mustafa, 33, was jailed on October 23 at Woolwich Crown Court following a a successful prosecution by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
In March 2014 Mustafa obtained a one-bedroom council property at Middle Park Avenue, but the council received information alleging he no longer lived at the property and was subletting to others.
Financial enquiries identified Mustafa had received regular payments into his bank account and from April 2014 to October 2016 he had payments in excess of £10,000 with over £2,000 of this described as ‘rent’ on bank statements.
Enquiries also identified Mustafa had spent at least 17 months out of the UK since April 2014.
In November 2016 Royal Borough investigators visited the property and spoke with a male who confirmed his wife and child had been residing there since August 2014 and that he paid his wife’s monthly rent of £700 to her landlord, Mr Mustafa.
He confirmed that he had also paid Mr Mustafa an initial payment of £2,150 to cover the deposit, one month’s rent and to cover the costs of the credit checks and references on his wife Mustafa stated he needed to undertake.
In January 2017 council investigators interviewed Mustafa under caution.
He admitted shortly after obtaining the council property he had gone to live in Northern Cyprus and been abroad at least a-year-and-a-half. Mustafa was shown evidence of his subletting but denied he made any money from it and he had allowed a friend of a friend to stay.
But when shown documents bearing his signature relating to the £2,150 payment from his tenant he agreed that this was his writing. Mr Mustafa confirmed that he had never lived at the Middle Park Avenue property and allowed others to live there while he was out of the UK.
Enquiries also found Mustafa claimed Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support from March 2014 to February 2016 and he had not declared he was not living at the property and had sublet it to others to Royal Greenwich.
He received benefits totalling almost £9,000 that he was not entitled to receive.
After the interview Mr Mustafa returned the keys to the property which was re-allocated to a person in genuine need. On October 24 Mustafa pleaded guilty to four charges at Woolwich Crown Court and sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
The court also heard offences committed by Mr Mustafa fell within a period of a suspended prison sentence for other offences and he was jailed for a further 17 weeks.
Councillor Maureen O’Mara is cabinet member for customer services and anti-fraud. She said: “Mr Mustafa’s actions were shameful and I am pleased they led to prison.
“Let this be a warning to others who think subletting much-needed council property is acceptable.”
If you suspect someone is committing fraud in Greenwich, please call 0800 169 6975 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information will be treated in confidence.