Landlord banned from renting after forcing tenants to live dangerous conditions

A landlord has been banned from renting out rooms after he took advantage of vulnerable tenants.

Robert Crow, 69, is accused of letting his tenants live in filthy and dangerous conditions and failing to carry out basic maintenance.

The court heard water was left leaking through lights and tenants lived with an insanitary kitchen and tiny bedrooms filled with hoarded rubbish.

One of Crow’s tenants was forced to wash at a homeless centre because the bath and shower facilities at his own home were coated in filth.

The court heard Crow was the subject of a number of complaints by residents over several years.

Southend Magistrates found Crow guilty of 18 offences relating to the dangerous, insanitary and substandard conditions of the property.

He was fined £36,000, ordered to pay costs of £7,865.10 and a victim surcharge of £170.

He was also served a Criminal Behaviour Order preventing anyone from entering the property other than himself and his immediate family.




72-year-old avoids jail over benefits fraud

A 72-year-old man has avoided jail after claiming almost £25,000 in State benefits.

Martin Oliver falsely claimed the benefits while working as a lorry driver and building a house on a plot of land he owned.

Oliver pleaded guilty to four offences of dishonestly failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions and his local council that his circumstances relating to benefit entitlement had changed.

He also admitted making a false representation about the amount of capital he owned when applying for pension credit.

The court was told that Oliver has sixteen previous criminal convictions for offences including burglary, theft and assault but they all date back more than 20 years.

Judge Michael Cullum took into account Oliver’s current poor health and that of his partner and disabled son and sentenced him to eight months jail suspended for a year.

Oliver’s son, aged 40, has cerebral palsy and Oliver and his partner work  as carers.

Judge Michael Cullum said,

“On the face of it, it appears to be a very serious matter that you had capital to buy land, build a house on it and sell it for profit.

“It has been explained to me, however, that this was for the benefit and care of your son Shane who needs lifelong round the clock care.

“Given those circumstances the seriousness of the offence is significantly less than it would otherwise have been. But you did repeatedly declare that you did not have any capital.

“You were also working for years while in receipt of benefits.”



Carer Steals Over £300k From 102-Year-Old Woman

A carer has been jailed for nine years for stealing more than £300,000 from a vulnerable 102-year-old woman and ordered to pay back the cash.

Carer, Julie Sayles, 60, used her position to steal from Edith Negus.

Sayles conned Negus after setting up a joint account with her as she knew the pensioner had saved a substantial amount of money.

Sayles then made payments totalling £287, 688 into the joint account from Mrs Negus’ savings.

Furthermore, Sayles wrote herself into Ms Negus’ Will in an attempt to steal the rest of her assets after her death in October 2014.

After stealing all of the pensioner’s life savings, Sayles spent £125,000 on a house in Wiltshire and bought another house totalling £119,995 in Scarborough.

Sayles denied the offence but was eventually sentenced to five counts of fraud at Hull Crown Court and was jailed for nine years.

It was confirmed in court that Sayles has £297,000 in her bank accounts and was told she had a month to pay it back to Ms Negus’s estate.

Sayles was given three months to repay the remaining £18,000 otherwise face another six months in prison.

Former Council officer jailed for £100,000 benefit fraud

A former council officer has been jailed for three years for stealing over £100,000 in benefits.

Sancho Jayaratnam, aged 58 from Bushey, was caught by police and Harrow Council committing multiple acts of fraud.

He was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position .

Jayaratnam, a former benefit assessor for the council, worked with accomplices to create bogus payments from customer claims transferring them illegally into his collaborators bank accounts.

One of the accomplices, Gabriella Morosan, 28, recruited an entire network to launder the stolen money.

Morosan pleaded guilty to the same charge receiving an 18-month suspended sentence as well as 100 hours community service.

Jayaratnam claimed he was coerced by a criminal gang. The judge  dismissed this claim as fantasy and said he must return the cash he stole or face further jail time.

Landlord ordered to pay almost £40k over ‘worst property seen in ten years’

A landlord has been ordered to pay almost £40,000 over a series of safety breaches at his flats in Birmingham, described as the worst property seen by inspectors in a decade.

Birmingham city council said David Greene, 64, showed “callous disregard” for his responsibilities at the property, which was converted into ten flats.

Offences included broken, boarded-up windows, smoke detectors hanging off the ceilings, ill-fitting fire doors and blocked fire escapes.

Tenants had no access to hot water or heating.

Greene was contacted regularly by Birmingham City Council  to resolve the poor conditions.

He admitted the offences at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court and was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £1,941 costs and a victim surcharge of £170.





Pensioner sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work after £21,000 benefit fraud

A 74-year-old woman who was accused of a £21,000 benefit fraud has been disowned by her family members.

Josephine Robinson was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and pay £170 costs.

Magistrates’ chairman Toby Prosser said, “It was close to custody. It was a serious amount of money you were overpaid.”

Robinson admitted failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions between 2012 and June 2016 that she lived as a married couple and, after her husband’s death, failed to declare income from an occupational pension affecting her entitlement to Pension Credit.

Simon Sargent, defending, said Robinson was embarrassed, ashamed and deeply regretted her actions.

A probation officer said Robinson’s sons had disowned her and she felt extremely lonely.

Bill for benefit fraud soars to £3.8 billion

Over £70million was lost to fraudsters or wrongly paid out every week, an increase of £200m on the previous year.

The Department for Work and Pensions admitted more than £2 of every £100 paid out in welfare is now a “mistake.”

James Price, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said, “We have to crack down on benefit fraud wherever we find it.

“It’s not just stealing from hard-pressed taxpayers but takes money away from those who need it most.”

A total of £1.46bn was lost to housing benefit fraud and error while £650m was wrongly paid out in employment and support allowance and £320m on pension credit.

A DWP spokesman said, “Last year we recovered a record £1.1bn, with over 5,000 people convicted.

“Levels of benefit fraud remain very low, but we are tackling the small minority who try to cheat the system by working closely with police and local authorities, developing new fraud detection technology.”

Unmarried mother to receive widows’ bereavement benefits, Supreme Court rules in landmark ruling

An unmarried mother has won a landmark Supreme Court case to access widowed parent’s allowance for her children after she was denied bereavement payments following her partner’s death.

Siobhan McLaughlin, 46, was initially refused the benefit payments because she was not married to her partner, who died of cancer in January 2014.

Campaigners have called this ruling “hugely important” and are now calling on ministers to ensure that all children who experience the death of a parent are supported financially on the same basis as offspring whose parents are married.

Ms McLaughlin, who has four children with her partner, initially won a case after claiming unlawful discrimination based on her marital status, but that ruling was later overturned by the Court of Appeal.

She said her case was never about her but about justice for her grieving children.

Ms McLaughlin accused the government of treating them as “insignificant.”

The court’s president, Lady Hale, said, “The allowance exists because of the responsibilities of the deceased and the survivor towards their children.

“Those responsibilities are the same whether or not they are married to or in a civil partnership with one another. The purpose of the allowance is to diminish the financial loss caused to families with children by the death of a parent.

“That loss is the same whether or not the parents are married or in a civil partnership with one another.”

Ms McLaughlin’s solicitor Laura Banks, from Francis Hanna & Co, said, “This is an extremely significant victory, not only for Siobhan and her children but for thousands of families throughout the UK.

“An estimated 2,000 families each year are turned away from bereavement benefits because of this legislation which the Supreme Court has today clearly stated is unjustifiably discriminatory.

“We are absolutely delighted with this landmark decision and the tremendous impact it should have on the lives of families in times of great need. We consider that it finally puts an end to this shameful, almost Victorian discrimination.

“We urge the government to act without delay to implement the required changes to the law for the benefit of bereaved families such as Siobhan’s.”