A Nigerian fraudster who used a forged passport to live in a council house for more than a decade has been jailed for 18 months.
Christopher Aghalibe, 63, fooled the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham with the fake document that cost him just £50.
The former bus driver was given a council house in 2004 after he submitted the passport in the name of Kehinde Osula.
Fraud prevention unit officers finally attended his home in Wood Lane, Dagenham, on 10 August 2016, and he invited them in for a cup of tea.
Aghalibe claimed he came to London in 1990 but he often returned to his homeland to visit his sick father before his death.
When he was asked to attend an interview at the council offices later that day he arrived with a copy of the forgery.
Judge Alan Greenwood said Aghalibe caused considerable loss to the public purse.
‘People can wait for as long as 10 years for social housing,’ he said.
‘Someone else would have been deprived and that is very much a factor that needs to be borne in mind.
‘The matters that have been brought to my attention are that you were in this country lawfully, that much is true.
‘But you used that false passport to gain benefit while you were inside the country.
‘You used that passport to travel.
‘You used it to cross borders.
‘Another matter was the loss to the public purse.
‘I have been given a figure from a note and every year it can amount to as much as £9,395.
‘And so over a period of years it is quite a substantial loss to the public purse caused by your fraudulent use of that passport.
‘It may be that I am erring on the side of leniency but the sentence I am going to impose is one of 18 months and that will run concurrently.’
Andreas O’Shea, for Aghalibe, said: ‘The motivation was to travel out of the country for family difficulties.
‘As we know the application for housing came almost a year later.
‘That application is something that he might have been entitled to if he had been given his indefinite leave to remain.
‘The victims, of course, are those who do not get the housing.’
Aghalibe, of Wood Lane, Dagenham, denied but was convicted of one count of using a false instrument, one count of obtaining services by deception and one count of possession of a false identity document with improper intention.