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Fraudster's lie to secure Right to Buy deal on council house exposed

By John Scott | Halesowen | Crime | Published:

A fraudster who lied to get a council house has lost the chance of a £56,000 windfall in a Right to Buy deal to purchase the property, a judge heard.

An investigation scuppered the Right to Buy council house bid (Stock image)

Ali Ali applied to Dudley Council for a local authority home in 2015 and moved with his family into the house, in Huntingtree Road, Halesowen, the following year.

But the 33-year-old father-of-three had not revealed his interest in a £180,000 former rectory in nearby Bundle Hill which had been bought in February 2013 on a mortgage in his name which was paid off by March 13, 2018.

He denied owning or having owned any property during the previous ten years, Mr Richard Franck, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court.

It is unclear what, if any checks were made at the time, but the lie went unnoticed until the tiler applied to purchase their home through the Right to Buy scheme, applications for which were routinely investigated by the council's fraud team.

Inquiries revealed his link to the old rectory, invalidating his family's right to live in the Huntingtree Road house and undermining the application to buy it which, if successful, would have secured him a £56,000 discount on the £160,000 address, continued Mr Franck.

Mr Mohammed Hafeez, defending, said Ali separated from his partner for a short time in 2013 during which he and his brother-in-law agreed to buy and renovate the old rectory as a business deal.

It was purchased with a mortgage in his name but he soon discovered he could not afford the project and within eight weeks had reunited with his wife.

His brother-in-law agreed to take over the property and paid rent to cover the mortgage that remained in Ali's name until another deal - the details of which are not known - was agreed.

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The defendant was no longer linked to the address when he made the Right to Buy bid but accepted he should have revealed his links to the rectory when making the initial application for a council house.

Ali, who has now lost the family's Huntingtree Road home and is renting privately, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was given a six-month jail term suspended for 18 months with 100 hours unpaid work.

Judge Amjad Nawaz told him: "By telling that untruth you were able to jump the queue making those with legitimate claims wait longer.

"You may deserve to go immediately to prison but that would cause further harm for your wife and children."

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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