Skip to content

Gateshead man's right-to-buy fraud uncovered

scrabble tiles

A Gateshead man who attempted to defraud Gateshead Council of almost £80,000 has been forced to pay the money back.

Gateshead Council's in-house Corporate Fraud Team successfully identified Lee Richardson as someone who had made a fraudulent Right to Buy purchase of a Council house in Whickham.

Mr Richardson had jointly purchased his grandfather's Council house in June 2017 under the government's Right to Buy scheme having declared that the property at 11 Rose Avenue in Whickham was his sole and main home. He received a discount of £77,900 along with his grandfather. 

However, an anonymous tip-off suggested that Mr Richardson did not actually live there and this immediately prompted an investigation by the Council's Corporate Fraud Team. This led to him being interviewed under caution.

During the interview, the team was able to identify that Mr Richardson had failed to declare ownership of four other properties, one of which he was living in.

Faced with prosecution, Lee Richardson eventually admitted making a fraudulent Right to Buy declaration and accepted a formal caution. He was also required to pay back a total of £93,465 in repayment of the Right to Buy discount and associated costs.

Darren Collins, strategic director for Resources and Digital, says: "As this case demonstrates, the Council has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud in all its forms and we will always take firm action wherever we find it.

Report suspected fraud"Anyone thinking of applying for the Right to Buy their council home should be sure that they are eligible to do so and be mindful that the Council will investigate each and every application thoroughly."

Right to Buy is a government scheme that allows eligible tenants to buy their home at a discount.  Gateshead Council owns more than 19,000 properties in the borough and receives around 250 Right to Buy applications each year. 

Each Right to Buy application is thoroughly checked, with additional checks being conducted on all applications by the Corporate Fraud Team. Since April 2018 these checks have led to the direct cancellation and withdrawal of 18 applications and the recovery of two properties.

To report a suspected fraud, please contact the Council's Corporate Fraud Team on (0191) 433 2805 or email fraudreporting@gateshead.gov.uk.

scrabble tiles
21 November 2019

A Gateshead man who attempted to defraud Gateshead Council of almost £80,000 has been forced to pay the money back.

Gateshead Council's in-house Corporate Fraud Team successfully identified Lee Richardson as someone who had made a fraudulent Right to Buy purchase of a Council house in Whickham.

Mr Richardson had jointly purchased his grandfather's Council house in June 2017 under the government's Right to Buy scheme having declared that the property at 11 Rose Avenue in Whickham was his sole and main home. He received a discount of £77,900 along with his grandfather. 

However, an anonymous tip-off suggested that Mr Richardson did not actually live there and this immediately prompted an investigation by the Council's Corporate Fraud Team. This led to him being interviewed under caution.

During the interview, the team was able to identify that Mr Richardson had failed to declare ownership of four other properties, one of which he was living in.

Faced with prosecution, Lee Richardson eventually admitted making a fraudulent Right to Buy declaration and accepted a formal caution. He was also required to pay back a total of £93,465 in repayment of the Right to Buy discount and associated costs.

Darren Collins, strategic director for Resources and Digital, says: "As this case demonstrates, the Council has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud in all its forms and we will always take firm action wherever we find it.

Report suspected fraud"Anyone thinking of applying for the Right to Buy their council home should be sure that they are eligible to do so and be mindful that the Council will investigate each and every application thoroughly."

Right to Buy is a government scheme that allows eligible tenants to buy their home at a discount.  Gateshead Council owns more than 19,000 properties in the borough and receives around 250 Right to Buy applications each year. 

Each Right to Buy application is thoroughly checked, with additional checks being conducted on all applications by the Corporate Fraud Team. Since April 2018 these checks have led to the direct cancellation and withdrawal of 18 applications and the recovery of two properties.

To report a suspected fraud, please contact the Council's Corporate Fraud Team on (0191) 433 2805 or email fraudreporting@gateshead.gov.uk.

More Gateshead news

Share this page