A man has been jailed for 18 months after he falsely claimed he was in a gay relationship with one of the deceased residents of Grenfell Tower so that he could obtain money from a survivors’ fund.
Mohammed Syed Rinku, an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh, claimed he had been living in flat 204 at the time of the fire and his boyfriend had died.
Appearing at Isleworth Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and seeking leave to remain via deception.
Ben Holt, prosecuting, said: “He lied to the authorities about being a resident at Grenfell Tower. As a result, he was provided with a prepaid credit card. He spent a total of £5,070 on that card.
“He also received medical assistance from the NHS that was reserved for those who had survived the disaster. In addition, the authorities created a policy whereby individuals with insecure immigration status who had lost their homes in the fire could regularise their stay.”
The prosecutor continued: “Eligible individuals were granted 12 months limited leave. To provide survivors with greater certainty over their long-term future in the UK, on 11 October 2017, the government announced that those who qualified under the policy would be able to apply for permanent residence after 5 years’ lawful residence.
“This defendant is an over-stayer. He was, therefore, illegally in the country. As a result of his representations about being a resident in the tower, he was granted temporary leave to remain in the UK.”
The 46-year-old was jailed for 18 months for the fraud. He was also sentenced to 11 months for seeking leave to remain, with both sentences to run concurrently.
Jailing Rinku Judge Nicholas Wood, said: “What you did and said in this case was despicable, beyond contempt, and below criticism. It is hard to listen the statements of the survivors without feelings of acute sympathy and sadness on the one hand and on the other anger at those who have exploited the tragedy.
“The best said in mitigation is your previous good character, and I accept your apologies. Whether others will is a matter for them.”
Scotland Yard said Rinku claimed £5,070 of funds meant for survivors and had applied to remain in the UK under the Grenfell Survivors Immigration Policy.
Once it was discovered he was lying and had not lived in the north Kensington block, he was arrested on September 10. A confiscation order has been made to recover £4,044 of the funds he took.