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Man pretended to have cancer to get a council home

PUBLISHED: 12:46 14 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:46 14 April 2015

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Marlon Brown faked letters from a consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital

A MAN who pretended to have cancer so he could get a new council home has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Marlon Brown, from Penge, sent Bromley Council three false letters between 2011 and 2014 purporting to be from a consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital, saying that he suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

His application to be rehoused should be looked at as a priority, the letters said, as Brown’s home in Derwent Road was not suitable for someone in his condition.

The 34-year-old inundated the council’s housing department with emails and threats to go to the newspapers with his situation, often copying in the Mayor of Bromley, the chief executive and other councillors.

But when one of the housing officers called the Royal Marsden, who said they had never heard of Brown or the consultant he had invented, his scam was discovered.

Brown initially denied the offences, saying someone else had acted on his behalf, and opted for a trial at Croydon Crown Court. However, he then admitted three counts of fraud by using a false instrument, but denied a separate charge of council tax fraud of £326.50.

He was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid community work and pay £1,500 costs. He could have been fined up to £5,000.

A council spokesperson said: “Had Brown’s false application for housing succeeded, it could have resulted in a property being allocated to a fraudster at the expense of a family in genuine need.

“Given the increase in homeless people seeking housing, we have to be vigilant for cheats who seek to exploit the system.”

Anyone with information about a possible fraudulent application for housing or any fraud in the borough should call the confidential fraud hotline on 0800 169 6975 or email audit@bromley.gov.uk.

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