Former housing officer hit with £20,000 fraud compensation order

Order follows conviction for a homelessness scam that secured three council tenancies.

A one-time top housing officer has to pay £20,000 to the council she once worked for as compensation for a ‘family affair’ fraud that saw her faking homelessness.

Birmingham City Council went after Zara Danyaal under the Proceeds of Crime Act, having already seen the former senior housing needs officer imprisoned for conning her way into council tenancies.

In 2016, Danyaal received a three year sentence after admitting fraud offences relating to social housing applications and job references.

This week, after a Proceeds of Crime application, Danyaal was ordered to repay £20,000 in compensation to the council.

Robert James, the council’s director of housing, said the result recognised the severity of the crime committed.

“The act of fraud prevented several families from being housed, compensation now received will be reinvested by the council to prevent further acts of fraud from being committed.

“It is imperative that losses from fraud and corruption are, where possible, eradicated to ensure that resources are used to provide essential services,” he said.

An internal audit investigation by the council in 2014, found Danyaal had submitted six fraudulent homeless applications using fabricated identities and personal information.

Danyaal made the fraud a ‘family affair’, fabricating identities and personal information relating to herself and her mother – with her sister in on the scam.

Samara Malik – not a council employee – admitted a single count of social housing fraud and was jailed for 10 months.

Then, the court heard of ‘serious concerns’ raised around the role of Danyaal in the homeless application process.

Danyaal was suspended as a full internal audit investigation was instigated.

That investigation confirmed the concerns and identified that Danyaal had submitted and processed six fraudulent homeless applications between 2011 and 2013, three of which resulted in tenancies being awarded.

She perpetuated the frauds using fabricated identities and personal information relating to herself and her mother.

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