Gael Ikobonga, 32 years old, of Rush Green Road, Romford was sentenced on Monday 5 October, at Snaresbrook Crown Court, to 28 months’ imprisonment for fraud by abuse of position.
Ikobonga worked as a Tenancy Services Manager for a housing company that leased properties on behalf of a charity which, as part of its services, provides housing for individuals who need support.
Identifying one of the buildings he had responsibility for – a block of flats in Canning Town; Ikobonga marked several of the properties as ‘returned to landlord’ (ie not occupied or rented) before sub-letting them privately and taking the rent for himself. He even moved into one of the flats with his girlfriend.
Using the company’s headed paper, he signed contracts with the unsuspecting tenants, but provided his personal bank account details for the rent payments.
Analysis of his bank statements revealed rent payments from four of the properties between January 2016 and November 2018. He also lived rent free in his property for two years.
In total, Ikobonga accrued around £100,000 through his dishonesty. Transactions on his bank account showed the majority of the money was spent on his gambling habit.
Following an investigation by detectives from the Central Specialist Crime Command, Ikobonga was arrested on 23 October 2018. He was charged on 1 February 2020. On 21 February 2020 he pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court.
Acting Detective Inspector Martin Enever, from the North East Economic Crime Command, said: “Ikobonga stole money from a charity that helps those in need to fuel his gambling addiction; with not a thought of the impact his actions would have. Employee fraud is a serious offence which the Met is committed to investigating. Employers can help by always remaining vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity to Action Fraud.”