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Council legal team prosecutes defendant for making multiple false applications for social housing

The legal services team at Cotswold District Council has successfully prosecuted an individual for offences under the Fraud Act 2006 in relation to multiple false applications for social housing within the district.

Dale Stewart of Darlington Road, Lambeth pleaded guilty to six charges of dishonestly making a false representation.

The proceedings were brought on behalf of Bromford Housing, Greensquare Group Limited, Stonewater Homes and Fortis Living Group (now Platform Housing Group) as well as the charges for Cotswold District Council.

The Counter Fraud Unit (CFU) based at Cotswold District Council work on behalf of a number of social housing providers to investigate and prosecute cases of housing and tenancy fraud.

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Mr Stewart made applications for social housing and failed to declare that he already held tenancies with other social housing providers.

“In doing so he deceived the housing associations into allocating properties that could otherwise have housed someone in genuine need,” the district council said.

The CFU conducted a wide-ranging investigation and gathered evidence and witness testimony from multiple organisations including the London Borough of Lambeth, Westminster City Council, South Yorkshire Housing Association, Sheffield City Council as well as the housing associations who had suffered loss from his deception.

On 30 June 2021 Mr Stewart was sentenced at Cheltenham Magistrates Court to pay a fine of £692, a Victim Surcharge Fee of £69 and a contribution towards costs of £750.

Cllr Lisa Spivey, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness at Cotswold District Council said: “We have a duty to prevent fraud and in supporting the providers of social housing, the Council is promoting a message of zero tolerance.  Taking swift action against those who commit housing and tenancy fraud acts as a deterrent and ensures that only individuals who are genuinely in need are allocated social housing.”

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