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Councillor at London borough sentenced for housing fraud

A former councillor at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Shahed Ali, was this month given a custodial sentence of 22 weeks after being found guilty of housing fraud.

Ali, who had represented the Whitechapel ward, appeared in Snaresbrook Crown Court for sentencing in relation to one count of housing fraud under Section 3 of the Fraud Act 2006 (fraud by failing to disclose information).

The defendant had failed to notify Tower Hamlets of a change in his circumstances between the date that he completed a housing application form and the date that he accepted a council tenancy. Ali had been under a continuing duty to do so. The defendant also failed to disclose that he owned two properties.

Ali was disqualified from office as a councillor under the rules of the Local Government Act 1972 and may not stand again for five years.

Tower Hamlets is required to hold a by-election within 35 days of two electors giving notice.

Will Tuckley, chief executive of Tower Hamlets Council, and Returning Officer, said: “Tower Hamlets is a densely populated London borough with almost 20,000 people on our housing waiting list. Mr Ali’s actions had a significant impact on others and meant that residents in urgent need of housing could not be accommodated.

“This was compounded by his role as an elected member, in a position of trust, and one where he represented many of the people affected by the housing challenges we face.”

Tuckley added: “Tower Hamlets Council will always investigate fraudulent activity and we will pursue legal action whenever we can.

“I would like to praise the work of the council officers who brought this case to light and who worked hard to see it through to [this] conclusion.”

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