Man pleads guilty to £100,000 Grenfell Tower fraud

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image copyrightMetropolitan Police
image captionSharife El-Wahbe pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation

A man has pleaded guilty to fraud after claiming more than £100,000 intended for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Sharife Elouahabi, 38, of Chelsea Manor Street, south-west London, said he was living in the tower at the time of the fire in 2017.

However, an investigation revealed he had been living at another address and not at Grenfell Tower.

Elouahabi will be sentenced next month following his plea at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday.

He admitted making a false representation to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, namely that he had been living in Grenfell Tower and was therefore entitled to housing.

Elouahabi received support worth about £103,476 for accommodation and financial assistance between 23 June 2017 and 25 June 2018, the Metropolitan Police said.

He was due to receive further resettlement payments worth £14,730 to go towards a flat and free utilities, when the fraud was discovered.

image copyrightChris J Ratcliffe
image captionThe Grenfell Tower fire claimed the lives of 72 people

Det Con Ben Rouse, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "This was a substantial fraud, made all the more deplorable by the fact that it was committed in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, with the money set aside to help those directly affected by the tragedy.

"Elouahabi shamelessly took advantage of the efforts to re-house people whose homes had been destroyed by claiming his link to one of the flats, and he was subsequently put in hotel accommodation."

His defence counsel told the court Elouahabi did stay in flat 182 on a couple of occasions as he knew one of the residents.

Elouahabi, known as El-Wahbe on the court list, will be sentenced on 20 November.

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