Harun jailed 16 months over £125,000 housing scam

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LONDON: Muhammad Harun, 49, bid for “hundreds of social rent properties” in Tower Hamlets while owning a home in Barking he bought for £230,000 in 2007. While living in social housing in Poplar, he then purchased his parents’ house in Solander Gardens, Wapping, with a ‘Right to Buy’ discount.

Those who own their own home cannot legally bid for council housing but Harun amassed the two properties, now worth an estimated £750,000, over the 10 years he lived in low-rent accommodation.

According to a ‘Evening Standard’ report, the council estimated it cost about £12,000 a year to house Harun as a social housing tenant. The fraud was uncovered seven months after he was elected as a Tower Hamlets Labour councillor in May 2018. Defending, Shaun Murphy said: “He has suffered since [the fraud was discovered]. His career lies in tatters.”

Jailing Harun at Snaresbrook crown court on Thursday last week, Judge Sanders said: “You were a beneficiary of accommodation you were not entitled to.”

Harun is the third Tower Hamlets councillor in seven years to be convicted of housing fraud. At an earlier hearing he pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud. He was jailed for 16 months and ordered to pay £17,500 in costs, as well as the £125,000 he has already paid back to the council.