A housing fraudster who sublet his council property has been handed a six month prison sentence suspended for two years and a bill of more than £7,000.
Dudley Council successfully brought a case against Mr John David Facer, aged 52 of Keepers Close, Kingswinford who was sentenced at Dudley Magistrates Court on Friday 10 January 2020.
It was found that Mr Facer was subletting his one bedroom property for a period of three years whilst he was residing in a property that he purchased in Kidderminster.
After selling the property in Kidderminster and making a profit of £58,000, Mr Facer moved back to Keepers Close and submitted a fraudulent Right to Buy application in order to purchase the property from Dudley Council.
Had his application been successful, this would have entitled Mr Facer to a discount to the value of £36,250. However, due to further investigations into the sublet of the property, this application was cancelled by Dudley Council.
Mr Facer pleaded guilty to the charge of subletting his council property under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud under section 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.
Before setting the sentence District Judge Webster warned Mr Facer that he was “close to leaving the court in a van” but proceeded to sentence Mr Facer to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years and ordered Mr Facer to complete 240 hours of unpaid work. Mr Facer will also have to pay back an unlawful profit order of £1,955.68, a victim surcharge of £115.00 and legal costs of £5,000.
Due to Mr Facer being unwilling to relinquish the tenancy voluntarily, the council are in the process of recovering possession of the property, in order that it can be allocated to an eligible applicant who is in need of social housing. The possession case is due to be heard at the end of January 2020.
Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing, communities and residents' welfare, said:
Mr Facer’s actions will have deprived someone in genuine need of housing and once again we are showing people that falsifying housing applications is a serious offence.
I would remind anyone who may be considering falsifying a housing application that we will take legal action against people who commit housing fraud.
Anyone suspicious of any fraudulent activity within the Dudley Borough, please report it anonymously on the Council’s Fraud hotline on 01384 81 4242 alternatively email Hotline@dudley.gov.uk