Friday 6 May 2016

UK-Based Nigerian Housing Officer Who Blew Her Fraud Proceeds on Exotic Holidays Gets 5 Years in Jail

Trudy Ali-Balogun, 55, used her role as a £25,000 a year housing officer at Southwark Council, to help process 24 bogus homelessness claims. She was paid a £2,000 bribe for each application she approved and treated herself to holidays around the world.
She approved false birth certificates for children who never existed, as well as made-up wage slips, bank statements and fake foreign passports. She was jailed for 5 years on Wednesday while fraudsters who benefited from the scheme: Biayo Awotiwon, 47, and Adeyemi Oyedele, 48, were given 5months each.

Kudiartu Falana, 60, was handed a 5 month jail sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service. Joseph Olaiya, 53, was sentenced to 6 months suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.
Ali-Balogun, who studied criminology at university, was processing bogus applications. Many of the applicants she helped within the Nigerian community were in the country illegally, the court heard. The fraud cost the council about £2.4m and left genuine homeless people without a roof above their heads.
Michael Goodwin, prosecuting, said: “She sought to exploit and capitalise in the weaknesses and procedures which were clearly in place at the time. Four applicants – including Falana – ended up buying the properties at a reduced price as a result of their deception using the Government’s ‘Right To Buy’ scheme.
Even Ali-Balogun herself had previously applied for a council home as a result of domestic violence. Mr Goodwin said she was essentially “a landlord while claiming to be homeless.”

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