Dunstable fraudster loses property over right-to-buy deception

Luton Crown Court
Luton Crown Court

A Dunstable woman who sub-let a council home and then used a right-to-buy scheme to purchase it has been forced to hand it back.

Jacqueline Gould, 37, falsely claimed she was living at Spinney Crescent in Dunstable at the time she bought it.

Instead, the mum-of-two was illegally sub-letting the property. It was a criminal offence as Gould stood to dishonestly gain from the right-to-buy scheme at a significantly discounted rate.

After an investigation, Gould pleaded guilty to one charge of illegal sub-letting and one charge of fraud in November 2015.

She appeared at Luton Crown Court for sentencing today and was given ten months’ imprisonment, suspended for a year.

Gould, who lives in Staines Square, was also ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £2,531.69 while the Spinney Crescent property has now been transferred back to the council.

The presiding judge noted that Gould is an intelligible woman who must have known she was not entitled to sub-let her council property and must also have realised she was not eligible to buy it under the Right to Buy scheme.

He added that this is a scheme intended to enable people to buy their homes to live in rather than operate some kind of market buy-to-let arrangement.

Cllr Richard Wenham, executive for corporate resources, said: “Council housing is an incredibly valuable resource and there for people who need it, not to be abused in order to make a quick profit.

“It is a criminal offence to illegally sub-let your council house, as it is to provide false information for a right-to-buy discount.”