A solicitor’s conviction for illegally subletting his council flat has been upheld after he lost his appeal against a suspended jail sentence.
Rahand Raza, 39, was living and working as a solicitor in Birmingham while he illegally sublet his council home in Lewisham, south London for over three years.
Lewisham Homes’ tenancy audit team was first alerted that the property at Rawlinson House, Lewisham might be sublet after people were seen moving out of the property.
Detailed enquiries by the council’s anti-fraud and corruption team established that the property was being illegally sublet.
Following a joint prosecution by the pair in May 2018, Mr Raza was convicted under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.
Bexley Magistrates’ Court handed the solicitor a custodial sentence of 12 weeks, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay costs of £5,000 and to pay back the unlawful profit of £3,496.
The judge said illegal subletting was a serious problem that impacted on Lewisham council and its residents.
Upholding the decision on appeal, a judge at Croydon Crown Court said the offence was not trivial in light of the profit Mr Raza made on a monthly basis. Mr Raza had also applied for the ‘right to buy’ on the tenancy.
Lewisham council said the details of the conviction have been passed to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for possible disciplinary action.
Meanwhile, the SRA has rebuked a law firm cashier, fined her £2,000 and banned her from working for law firms without its permission over thefts carried out at two firms.
In November 2014, Kayleigh Tunnicliffe was convicted of theft at Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court, for which she was sentenced to 50 hours of unpaid work plus victim surcharge and costs.
It occurred while she was head of accounts receivable at Roberts Jackson in Wilmslow, Cheshire, where she used the firm’s debit card to withdraw £600 in cash from the firm’s office account. She was dismissed her for gross misconduct soon after.
Two years later, while employed as a cashier by O’Neill Morgan in Stockport, Ms Tunnicliffe drew a cheque for cash for £1,250 from office account without permission and cashed this for her own use. She resigned from O’Neill Morgan.