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Man who falsely claimed father died in Grenfell Tower fire jailed for fraud

The man used the name of a real victim to claim money and free hotel accommodation.

Mohammad Gamoota
Mohammad Gamoota
Image: Metropolitan Police

A MAN WHO falsely claimed his father had died in the Grenfell Tower fire in order to falsely claim financial benefits has been jailed for 18 months.

Mohammad Gamoota, 31, admitted two fraud charges when he appeared at Isleworth Crown Court in London today.

As part of his fraud he researched a newspaper article about one of the 72 real victims of the fire, and used their name and details to make his claims for free hotel accommodation and cash sound more convincing.

He also made internet searches using the words ‘Grenfell Tower Fraud’.

Gamoota received £500 (about €570) in cash, although he had applied unsuccessfully for a further £4,500 (€5,150). He also received £910 (€1,040) worth of free hotel accommodation over nine days and ran up a £354 (€405) room service bill.

After the authorities became suspicious, he disappeared but was later identified by a social worker. He was also captured on CCTV collecting money from a post office, leading to his arrest on 17 October 2017. He was charged on Tuesday 17 April.

‘Premeditated’

Kate Mulholland, a specialist prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This was a premeditated fraud in which Mohammad Gamoota pretended he had lived in the Grenfell Tower fire, when he really lived with his mother in Croydon.

He searched online news articles to discover the name of an elderly man who died in the fire and then claimed that man was his father who he had lived with.

“When suspicions were aroused, Gamoota disappeared but the prosecution was able to link him back to the fraud.”

Tower block fire in London Grenfell Tower on fire on 14 June 2017. Source: Natalie Oxford/PA Images

Detective Superintendent Matt Bonner of the Metropolitan Police said: “I have previously described the actions of those who exploited the tragedy for their own personal gain as truly appalling.

Not only have their actions exploited the aid and support intended for those most affected, but they also risk misrepresenting the Grenfell community as they continue to try and come to terms with their grief.

“My thoughts remain with the Grenfell community at this difficult time, the genuine victims who should continue to be at the heart and centre of all we do.”

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Órla Ryan

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