H&F Anti-Fraud Team bust international housing fraudster

H&F Council’s Anti-Fraud Team investigators have helped evict and prosecute a housing fraudster in Fulham.

Snaresbrook Crown Court where Joseph Karani was sentenced
Image credit
Cassianto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

H&F Council’s Anti-Fraud Team investigators have helped evict and prosecute a housing fraudster in Fulham.

Joseph Karani, 45, was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 240 hours of unpaid work, at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday 11 January after being found guilty of committing fraud by false representation.

The judge made it clear Karani had ‘come very close’ to being imprisoned for the offence during sentencing.

Karani made a fraudulent application to the council to take over his mother’s flat in Clem Attlee Court, Fulham, in February 2018 to deny a local family on the housing register from moving into the property.

The H&F Anti-Fraud Team investigators discovered that Karani’s mother had sadly been found deceased at the property in August 2016 during a forced entry after failed attempts to conduct the annual gas safety inspection at the property.

Unopened post was found at the flat dating back to January 2016. In order to be able to move into his mother’s house, Karani needed to be living with his mother for a period of 12 months prior to her death.

He falsely claimed on his application that he had lived at the property for 26 years when in fact he was living in Kenya.

Through the execution of a European Investigation Order granted by Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the team uncovered flight details for Karani flying in and out of the UK from Kenya.

“This was a shameful attempt to deny a local family who deserve and are in need of a two-bed home in H&F,” said Cllr Frances Umeh, H&F Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness.

“Our Anti-Fraud Team is taking down criminals like this across the borough and beyond as we help tackle crime in H&F.”

Further investigations revealed that as Karani pursued his fraudulent succession application, he also managed to purchase a luxury Land Rover costing around £64,000 and had it delivered to an address in Europe, even though he was receiving UK Job Seekers Allowance.

Karani was eventually evicted from the property on 26 September 2022 and a local family on the housing register was then able to move in shortly afterwards.

Last year, our Anti-Fraud Team saved local taxpayers more than £857,000 after successfully preventing and detecting fraud in 154 investigations.

This included the successful recovery of 36 council properties which were being misused. These have now been made available to those residents in genuine need of housing support within the community.

Do you know someone committing fraud?

Our dedicated team investigate different types of fraud against H&F Council including:

  • housing and tenancy fraud - illegal subletting and false application for housing
  • council tax fraud - claiming to live alone and receiving 25 per cent discount on your council tax
  • Disabled parking fraud - parking on Disabled bays when the blue badge holder is not present
  • business rates fraud - companies falsely claiming empty property or charitable relief
  • direct payments fraud - people who falsely claim to be disabled to obtain care funds or misuse the funds.

If you know of anyone committing fraud in H&F, please fill in an online fraud report form or call the anti-fraud hotline on 020 8753 1273.

Joseph Karani

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