Bromley man jailed for lying about losing family in Grenfell Tower fire
PUBLISHED: 16:28 09 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:28 09 February 2018
A man who falsely claimed to have lost family members in the Grenfell Tower fire has been jailed for fraud offences.
Anh Nhu Nguyen, of Beckenham Road, Bromley appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, February 9 where he was sentenced to 21 months in jail.
In November he had pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation, gaining money, hotel accommodation and clothing; and one count of making an untrue statement to obtain a passport.
Detectives from the Met launched an investigation after suspicions were raised about the validity of Nguyen’s claims.
Nguyen, 53, came forward to authorities in the immediate aftermath of the fire and was assigned family liaison officers after he claimed that he lost his wife and son in the fire.
He provided officers with a very detailed account of how he lost sight of them as they tried to leave Grenfell Tower in west London.
He said he was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and treated for smoke inhalation. But hospital checks show he had never been there.
He claimed financial support after saying he had lost all his property during the fire, and was provided with emergency hotel accommodation.
But police noticed clear inconsistencies in his story and spoke to nearby residents of the flat at Grenfell Tower that Nguyen claimed to live in. They confirmed he did not live at the address.
Relatives of the person who did live in the flat were made aware of the investigation, and were spoken to by their family liaison officers. They confirmed Nguyen did not live there.
Officers traced the actual address in Bromley where Nguyen was living at the time of the fire and it was also established that he did not have a wife or child.
On June 28, 2017 he was arrested on suspicion of fraud and charged the following day.
Det Con James Tauber, the investigating officer, said: “Nguyen’s fraud was designed to make sure he profited from the support intended for the true victims of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire.
“He went to great lengths to fabricate an elaborate story about his escape from the tower.”
Det Supt Matt Bonner said: “The distress and suffering caused to so many that night in June is harrowing. People lost their homes, all their possessions and tragically their families and loved ones.
“Not only did Nguyen take money, housing and clothing intended for genuine victims, he diverted police time and resources away from those who most needed it.
“We will investigate anyone who we think is fraudulently profiting from the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.”