10:49AM, Thursday 12 December 2019
A housing officer who manipulated the system with insider knowledge in a bid to be placed in social housing has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Rajesh Kumar Rattu, 34, lied on forms stating he had never held a social housing tenancy and had lived in the borough of Slough for five years before making an application in 2017.
He provided a letter supposedly from his mother confirming his residency status but it turned out to be a forgery which he had signed himself.
Rattu made two further declarations confirming the false information as correct as he waited to receive social housing.
In the meantime, the housing officer, who had worked for Slough Borough Council for 15 years, had moved in with his girlfriend in Waterbeach Road, Manor Park, and had transferred his car insurance to the property.
But enquiries over his application revealed he previously held a housing association tenancy for a property in Datchet until April 2014 and had gone onto live at another address in the Royal Borough until June that year.
He then moved back to his family’s home in St Andrews Way, Cippenham.
Rattu admitted four counts of fraud relating to the original housing application, the forged letter and two annual renewals and was sentenced at Reading Magistrates’ Court on December 6.
The magistrates said the offences were a ‘huge breach of trust’ as it was clear he had taken advantage of the system and planned the offences with inside information.
He was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for one year, and told to pay £1615 costs and complete 180 hours of community service.
The council asked the court for Rattu to cover the authority’s full legal costs of £3021.20.
But this was halved due to his unemployment status since resigning from his role.
Richard West, interim director of place and development, said: “The magistrates said that the manipulation of the system could have had consequences for other residents in the borough.
“The fraud could have caused considerable harm to someone else who would have missed out on the opportunity to be adequately housed.”
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