Nine new arrests over alleged Grenfell Tower fraud

Detectives investigating the Grenfell Tower inferno have made nine arrests regarding hundreds of thousands of pounds of benefit and allowance fraud.

Jun 7, 2018
By Nick Hudson
Tragedy: 72 people lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower inferno

Eight men and one woman were detained at 11 addresses across London on Thursday (June 9), the Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed.

Policing has already admitted to its biggest investigative challenge with the blaze tragedy that claimed 72 lives as the true scale of alleged fraudulent activity weighs heavily on the almost 200 detectives and staff still deployed.

Three fraudsters have already been jailed for offences relating to the tower block fire on June 14, 2017 and two more are awaiting sentence next week.

All of the latest alleged offences being investigated are linked to people who have fraudulently benefited through housing or other allowances, by claiming to be victims of the fire. Two of the people arrested are linked but all of the alleged offences are separate.

The amounts involved range from £20,000 to £100,000. 

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Matt Bonner said: “All those arrests are in connection with what we believe to be fraudulent claims for housing and/or support of one kind or another, arising out of false claims from people that they were associated with Grenfell Tower.

“It is completely unacceptable that people would seek to profit from such a human tragedy and try and attach themselves to a community that they are not part of.”

Of those already jailed for fraud, Joyce Msokeri said she lost her husband and her home to the blaze to obtain donations.

Mohammad Gamoota pretended a real victim of the fire was his father while Anh Nhu Nguyen made about £12,500 by pretending his wife and son had been killed.

Two more people are due to be sentenced on June 13 after claiming to have lived on the 19th floor of the tower.

Detectives also updated on the progress of the criminal investigation into the cause and spread of the fire.

In total, 193 officers and staff continue to work full time on this complex and large-scale investigation. 507 organisations have been identified as having a role in the construction, refurbishment and management of Grenfell Tower. Through ongoing investigative work police are focusing efforts on the 36 organisations who played the most significant part. 

All onsite police forensic examination within Grenfell Tower has now concluded, and a series of offsite reconstruction tests are being carried out on elements of the building’s construction. This involves specialist experts.

Commander Stuart Cundy, overseeing the MPS response, said: “As we approach one year on since the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower, my thoughts are with all those so deeply affected by that night. 

“This large and complex investigation remains a priority and we have made significant progress over the last year. We will continue to investigate fearlessly, as we move forward – all our officers and staff remain committed to carrying out a thorough investigation.”

Alongside an examination of the roles played by public and private bodies, Mr Cundy revealed that the force is investigating London Fire Brigade’s use of a “stay put” policy during the blaze.

A public inquiry into the fire is under way with ten days of hearings already completed. The openings concluded at Holborn Bars in central London on Thursday.

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