Prison for Bexley fraudster

Olusola Owoeye of Manor Road, Erith has been sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of three counts of fraud at the end of a four day trial at Woolwich Crown Court in November 2019.

The court heard that, during a five year period of support provided by the London Borough of Bexley, Ms Owoeye had dishonestly received £114,456.15 for rent, council tax, subsistence, food vouchers and bus tickets.

Ms Owoeye first applied to Bexley for support in 2013 after she claimed to have been evicted by her landlord for non-payment of rent. As she had Nil Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)), and had three children, the Council provided housing and subsistence to the family.

She was visited in 2015 by the Council’s fraud team and declared no changes in her circumstances. In 2016 she made a financial declaration again stating no changes.

In January 2018 a Bexley resident complained to the Council that the property she rented was not up to standard. As she had Nil Recourse to Public Funds she was seen by the NRPF team. She stated that her landlord was Olusola Owoeye, a person known to the team as being in receipt of support. A Land Registry check of the address in Manor Road, Erith revealed that Ms Owoeye had owned the property since 2008.

The fraud team took on the investigation and in March 2018, together with the police, attended Ms Owoeye’s address in Crayford where she was arrested and the property searched.

Bank statements recovered showed that Ms Owoeye had been receiving rent payments into her son’s bank account in order to deceive the Council. She was also receiving money for child-minding and professional cake-making into the same account.

Support ceased after her arrest and she moved back into the property that she owned. 

A financial investigation revealed that Ms Owoeye had supplied a forged passport and visa to obtain the mortgage and claimed to be a software consultant earning £41,600 per year, when in fact she had no status in the UK.

When sentencing took place on 12 December the Judge said that it was an astonishing act of greed which took a significant amount of planning. He added that she was a "thoroughly dishonest person beyond rehabilitation". He also thanked the investigators for exposing the fraud.

Councillor Alex Sawyer, Bexley's Cabinet Member for Communities said: "This level of greed and dishonesty takes from those who are in genuine need of help. I am delighted with the successful prosecution, as will our residents and taxpayers be. The Council will now seek to recover the over-payment under the Proceeds of Crime Act."