Right to buy fraudster convicted

Published: 28 November 2018

A Slough man who tried to buy his council property despite living in it under false pretences has been convicted of fraud following a prosecution by Slough Borough Council.

Joseph Terry Elms, 59, of Moreton Way, Slough pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud at Reading Crown Court on 29 October and was sentenced yesterday (27 November) to 160 hours of unpaid work in the community.

He was also ordered to pay the council £14,916 in costs within 14 days and to pay £10,437.02 as a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act within seven days.

Mr Elms had applied for a council property without declaring a financial interest in a private home in Northborough Road and continued not to declare this despite being offered and moving into a council home on Moreton Way.

If someone has a financial interest in a private home they are not eligible for council housing but despite this, in May 2017, Mr Elms applied to buy the Moreton Way property under the right to buy scheme.

By then his property in Northborough Road had been sold netting him £154,892.23.

Councillor Mohammed Nazir, lead member for housing, said: “Our housing stock is not limitless and by pretending he had no financial interests in any other property Mr Elms first received a council property he didn’t deserve but then tried to buy it.

“He not only deprived a more deserving person of the property on Moreton Way but then callously tried to get the Right to Buy discount on it presumably so he could sell it like his previous property and make a large profit.

“Our housing is for those most in need and I hope this sentence and the fines imposed serve as a deterrent to anyone thinking of trying to defraud us.”

Mr Elms has now been required to leave the property on Moreton Way and it will be allocated to someone on the housing register.