Man jailed for two years over £100,000 housing charity fraud

06 Oct 2020 News

Gael Ikobonga

Image: Met Police

A man has been sentenced to 28 months in prison after pleading guilty of fraud against a housing charity. 

Gael Ikobonga, 32, from Romford in the London borough of Havering, was accused of abusing his position as tenancy services manager and defrauding the charity of about £100,000 in rent.

Ikobonga worked for the housing company that leased properties on behalf of the charity. He was responsible for a block of flats in Canning Town, where he marked several of the flats as not occupied. 

In fact he rented them out to various tenants and collected the rent for himself. He used the housing company’s headed paper to prepare and sign contracts with the tenants, who were unaware of the scheme, but gave his own bank details for the rent payments.

The police said that his bank statements show rent collections from four different properties for almost three years between 2016 and 2018. He also lived rent-free in one of the flats for two years. 

Ikobonga mostly spent the money on his gambling habit.

He was arrested in October 2018, pleaded guilty in February 2020 and was sentenced yesterday at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Acting detective inspector Martin Enever, from the North East Economic Crime Command, said: “Ikobonga stole money from a charity that helps those in need to fuel his gambling addiction; with not a thought of the impact his actions would have. 

“Employee fraud is a serious offence which the Met is committed to investigating. Employers can help by always remaining vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity to Action Fraud.”

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.

More on