Grenfell fraud conviction
A 26 year old male has been convicted at Isleworth Crown Court after being found guilty of falsely claiming that he had been living in Grenfell Tower at the time of the fire in order to benefit from multiple support services available to victims and their families.
On 7 September 2018, Yonatan Eyob was sentenced to a total of six years and eight months’ imprisonment after he admitted fraud by false representation between 27 June 2017 and 8 June 2018 and drug offences.
Mr Eyob falsely asserted that he was lodging in Flat 182, on the 21st floor of Grenfell Tower, at the time of the blaze. In reality, this flat had been occupied by a family of five, all of whom were tragically killed in the fire.
The Judge noted that as a result of his fraudulent claims, Mr Eyob had been treated as a “bereaved survivor and given top priority” in the aftermath of the fire. Mr Eyob was provided accommodation at the Hilton Hotel in Holland Park between July 2017 and June 2018, amounting to an equivalent of £60,945. In addition, Mr Eyob also received £9,968.36 for laundry and parking, and £15,918.20 on pre-paid debit cards to allow him to buy food. The total benefit by Mr Eyob’s fraudulent claims amounted to over £85,000.00. The Crown Prosecution Service has said that “it is the largest known convicted Grenfell fraud so far”.
Following Mr Eyob’s arrest, police conducted a search of his hotel room and seized a quantity of class A and class B drugs (including 31 wraps of MDMA, cocaine, ketamine, and cannabis) seven mobile phones, £3,000.00 in cash and designer clothing. Mr Eyob subsequently admitted to two offences of possessing a class A drug with intent to supply, two offences of possessing a class B drug with intent to supply and one offence of possessing criminal property.
Mr Eyob was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment for the fraud by false representation. He also received an additional three years and four months’ custodial sentence (to be served consecutively) for possession of drugs with intent to supply.
For more information on potential Grenfell Tower prosecutions, see our previous blog "Grenfell Tower Police interviews under caution – What charges could be brought?".
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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.