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Mother claimed to have third child to get bigger house — then let it out

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 16/05/2018 Tristan Kirk

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Independent Print Limited A mother of two bankrolled a jet-setting lifestyle and sent her twins to private school by illegally subletting her council house for a decade, a court heard.

Anita Boaitey, 43, span a “web of lies and deceit” as she first pretended to have a third child to land a larger home, then set about renting out the rooms while living elsewhere. Boaitey used a string of bank accounts to conceal her illicit income.

Boaitey wept in the dock at Inner London crown court yesterday as Recorder Nigel May spared her a jail term, sentencing her to 18 months in prison suspended for two years.

“You obtained a three-bedroom property by pretending you had a third child, a son, who was in fact your nephew,” he said. “Having obtained that property, which was obviously for someone who really needed it, you then completely abused the system by not living there yourself and letting it out to a number of tenants while you spent time abroad.

“We have seen flight manifests showing you effectively jetting around the world. You were able to send your children to a private, fee-paying school. You told so many lies during this trial, it’s so hard to know what is true and what isn’t.”

Boaitey, a hotel housekeeper, obtained the council home in Streatham from Lambeth council in 2002, having moved from Ghana and been granted British citizenship.

The judge said Boaitey’s lies mean investigators “will never get to the bottom of what actually happened here. You span a sophisticated web of lies and deceit to cover your tracks”. Boaitey is believed to have begun illegally subletting her council home in 2005, and continued to rent it out to as many as five people at a time until she was caught in 2014.

She was also exposed as wrongly claiming eligibility for a single-­person discount on her council tax.

Boaitey, who is in the first year of a hospitality management course at the London College of Contemporary Arts, told the court she is hoping to become a hotel manager, pleading for a suspended sentence as her children are just starting their GCSEs.

The judge said she had been spared prison “by a hair’s breadth” as he ordered her to complete 180 hours of community service. He rejected her claim that she has just £5 of disposable income a month, ordering her to pay £5,000 towards court costs.

Boaitey, who now faces council eviction proceedings, had denied fraud charges. She was convicted by a jury after a trial.

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