Ilford woman jailed for trying to sell a flat owned by her parents
PUBLISHED: 18:43 11 October 2018 | UPDATED: 18:43 11 October 2018
An Ilford woman has been jailed after she tried to sell a flat owned by her parents.
Valerie Edwards, 52, of Lawson Close, Ilford, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for fraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday, 10 October.
She entered a guilty plea on the opening day of her trial
The judge heard that in 2017, Edwards found out that her father and step-mother were not going to be living in the flat they owned in Harringay for a few months.
Her step-mother had travelled to the Caribbean to look after a sick relative, and she subsequently put her husband into a care home while she was away.
In May of that year, Edwards approached an estate agent and arranged for the flat to be offered directly to potential buyers looking for a property in the area.
She was very clear that the flat should not be advertised for sale publicly.
A buyer was eventually found and a sale price of £340,000 was agreed.
The estate agent referred Edwards to a solicitor to provide the conveyance on the purchase but the legal practictioner refused to facilitate the sale without permission from the owners.
Edwards explained that the owners were in hospital and unable to attend his offices and she showed “numerous forms of identification” including a power of attorney signed letter stating that she had permission to sell the flat.
Her documents were accepted and the transaction was allowed to continue.
Her plan fell through however when a neighbour of the property noticed people emptying her parent’s home on June 8, 2017.
They approached the removal men and asked what was going on, only to be told that the flat had been sold and the new owner was having it cleared.
The neighbour contacted Edward’s parents and informed them of the activity at the flat, also giving them the details of the person who had unwittingly bought their property.
The victim contacted the solicitor who had dealt with the sale explaining that Edwards did not have any right to sell the property.
The solicitor called Action Fraud and contacted the bank involved in the transfer of funds.
The bank was able to freeze £337,000 of the £340,000 selling price and the property was eventually returned to the rightful owners.
Det Con Neil Wakeling, of the East Area Command Unit, said: “Edwards knew that the property her father and step-mother lived in was going to be vacant for a period of time, and was unscrupulous in exploiting the situation by gaining access and attempting to force through its sale.
“Only at the last minute when the sale of the property was about to be finalised, and when a neighbour flagged their concerns and acted quickly was the fraud discovered.
“The custodial sentence handed down reflects the seriousness of the offence.”