A woman has pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in a case that involved ‘’sophistication and planning’’ against Harlow and Broxbourne councils.
In September 2018 Charlotte Gunn of Croyland Road, Enfield made an application to Broxbourne Council for financial assistance for a rental deposit through the Simple Lets scheme. The Council made a loan payment to a landlord enabling Gunn to move out of temporary housing accommodation and into a privately rented home.
Suspicions were raised after the deposit had been paid and the matter was referred to the Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) to conduct a fraud investigation.
SAFS found that Gunn had used a property advertised for rent locally and fabricated a landlord with false contact details in order to obtain the deposit (amounting to £1,600) which was paid into her own bank account. She then used the money to purchase a holiday, high street spending and withdrew a large amount in cash. The investigation also brought to light that Gunn had committed an almost identical fraud against Harlow Council.
On 2 March 2020 Ms Gunn pleaded guilty to two counts of Fraud by False Representation. On 30 September 2020 Ms Gunn was sentenced and ordered to pay a fine of £450 (£250 for the fraud committed against Broxbourne Borough Council and £200 for the fraud committed against Harlow Council), plus £500 in costs. She is also subject to a compensation order to fully repay Harlow and Broxbourne councils.
If residents suspect someone is involved in tenancy fraud, they can report it to the Tenancy Fraud Team on 01279 446353 or by emailing email@example.com.
More information on tenancy fraud can be found on our tenancy fraud page.