By Martin Robinson | Daily Mail |
LONDON – A Zimbabwean woman falsely claimed her husband died in the Grenfell Tower fire so she could get £10,000, food, clothes and nights in a Hilton hotel, a court heard today.
Joyce Msokeri, 46, also allegedly lied about her son being in intensive care after the worst fire in modern history where at least 89 people lost their lives in June.
Msokeri whose given address in Sutton is 12 miles from Grenfell Tower in west London, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court today charged with seven counts of fraud by false representation.
Prosecutors allege she falsely claimed that she managed to flee the blaze but said her husband died in the tower inferno while her son was gravely injured.
The court heard Msokeri made substantial claims on the basis she was a survivor of the fire, including £10,000 in cash and other donations.
She did not enter a plea and a judge remanded her in custody for her own safety to appear at Southwark Crown Court on October 3.
Msokeri is charged with making false claims to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to secure cash and accommodation between June 14 and 29.
Another charge alleges she did the same again to the council to secure accommodation.
She is also accused of doing the same to charities to gain clothing, footwear, food and electronic equipment.
Msokeri is also accused of making false representations, between July 30 and September 4, to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital that she was the wife of a man called Juna Hanlon.
Another charge alleges she made false representations to St Charles’ Hospital.
She is also accused of making false claims to the taxman, HMRC, between July 30 and September 4, that she was a Grenfell Tower resident on June 14 – the day of the fire.
And she is also charged with making false claims to a GP surgery in Kensington during the same time frame.
She was arrested on July 25 and charged on Monday before being kept in custody overnight.
Msokeri indicated not guilty pleas to the charges, and her case was sent to the crown court.
Wearing a black knitted hat, a dark coat with a broach and dark trousers, she sat still in the dock clasping her hands during the 15 minute hearing.
District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe said: ‘It’s a substantial amount of money.
‘It’s in circumstances where it’s akin to a fraud on a vulnerable person, who has been injured.
‘It’s similar to that, in of course there is a finite part, and the more that is taken out illegally, the less there is for those that deserve it.’
Msokeri was arrested on July 25 and charged yesterday.
In July a Vietnamese-born man appeared in court where he denied trying to swindle £10,000 worth of cash and goods by falsely claiming he lost his wife and son in the Grenfell Tower fire.
He is also accused of trying to get a British passport after claiming his old one was lost in the blaze.
Suspected fraudster Anh Nhu Nguyen, 52, allegedly tried to scam a council and charities out of cash, clothing, food and electronic goods by pretending he had lost his home.
Southwark Crown Court heard he posed as a victim of the deadly blaze in North Kensington – which left at least 80 people dead – for nearly two weeks and was put up in a Holiday Inn.
Grey-haired Nguyen, originally from Vietnam, was arrested last month and charged with two counts of fraud by false representation.
Nguyen was refused bail for his own safety – given the public anger over the incident which happened at the west London tower block on June 14.
He still claims he was in the tower block on the night of the fire, and the interviews he gave to the media were true, the court heard.