A man who forged his dead mother’s signature to buy her council home was one of many fraudsters uncovered by Waltham Forest Council.

The council’s corporate anti-fraud team saved more than £6 million catching fraudsters and also investigated the council itself 33 times between April 2019 and March 2020.

These investigations led to a former IT contractor employed by the council being jailed for five years and five staff members either resigning or being sacked.

Fraudster Chandra Jethwa was investigated by the team after trying to buy his dead mother’s council home on Walthamstow's Priory Court Estate through the Right to Buy scheme.

Jethwa knew he was not entitled to buy her home and so forged her signature on documents in an attempt to hide her death from council staff.

During routine checks, an investigator for the fraud team found her death certificate and the council took Jethwa to court.

He received a criminal conviction and the home was returned to the council, which was then able to house a homeless family in the house.

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In total the team discovered 32 cases where people had given false information while applying for Right to Buy council properties and prevented the sales from going ahead.

The council also secured its first two unlawful profit orders against council tenants, recovering more than £7,000 from men who illegally sublet their council properties.

Cllr Liaquat Ali, who is responsible for transformation and commercial operations, said: “It is vital that we as a council are careful guardians of taxpayer money and take every step to keep the public purse protected from fraud or bribery.

“The anti-fraud team works diligently to investigate any allegations against staff and contractors, as well as instances of suspected housing or Blue Badge fraud.

“I am very proud of their work and would like to take this opportunity to put on record my thanks, and I hope residents will join me.”

Fraud can be reported to the team by ringing 0300 003 1099, emailing fraud@walthamforest.gov.uk or via the online referral form.

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