In a landmark prosecution, a community homes tenant has been convicted for defrauding the council out of £40,000.
Adrian Pengilley, from Plymouth, originally applied to purchase his council home, under the right to buy scheme, but instead he illegally Sublette the property. He moved out of the property and rent it out, which is against the rules under the right to buy scheme. He had been a tenant of Plymouth Community Homes for 14 years and although the sale never went through, he could of benefitted just under £40,000 from the fraud.
Plymouth Community Homes said his actions led to a needy and vulnerable family from being denied the opportunity of moving into this home. This was a huge blow for the trust who had to pay to keep the family in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation.
At the hearing, which is the first case of so-called right to buy fraud, the judge praised the council for bringing Pengilley to justice. He told Pengilley: “The message needs to get out that this is a criminal offence to behave in the dishonest way which you did.” The judge handed Pengilley a 12 month community order with 160 hours of unpaid work and ten days of probation’s Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.
Sally Haydon, Cabinet member for Customer Focus and Community Safety, said: “Fraud will not be tolerated in Plymouth, especially when it attempts to deny innocent people of something they really need. Social housing is an essential community asset and with waiting lists at an all-time high, it is not for people to make money out of. I welcome today’s verdict and hope that it stands as a reminder that we will not be afraid to prosecute those who try and cheat the system.”