IslingtonTribune

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Right-to-buy fraud man gets 18 months jail

Tenant sublet and was living elsewhere when he tried to buy the flat

16 April, 2017 — By Koos Couvée

A MAN who fraudulently tried to buy a council flat under right-to-buy has been jailed following legal action by the Town Hall.

Babak Karimaghaei, 37, claimed to be living in the flat on the Highbury Park estate when he applied to buy the bedsit property.

Although he was the registered tenant he was in fact subletting the flat in breach of his tenancy conditions, while living at another address in London.

The fraud was discovered by Islington Council’s housing investigation team, which launched a prosecution because of the seriousness of the offence, the council said.

Had the fraud not been detected, Karimaghaei would have been entitled to a right-to-buy discount of £103,000.

Last month Karimaghaei was convicted of fraud by false representation, and was jailed for 18 months at Blackfriars Crown Court.

The council said subletting is a “serious breach of tenancy”, and is taking action to repossess the flat so it can go to a household in housing need.

Commenting on the case, Councillor Diarmaid Ward, Islington’s housing chief, said: “Islington faces a housing crisis, with a desperate need for more genuinely affordable housing.

“Right-to-buy fraud is unacceptable – it takes council housing away from the many people who badly need it, and profits the fraudsters who cheat them.

“We will investigate all suspected right-to-buy fraud, take legal action where there is evidence, and pursue the strongest penalties against offenders.”

People who have information on housing fraud are urged to call the council on 020 7527 7432, 24 hours a day, or email housing.fraud@islington.gov.uk

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