Grenfell Tower fraudster facing jail after posing as fire survivor to obtain tens of thousands of pounds

A Grenfell Tower fraudster is facing a jail sentence after posing as the flatmate of an elderly woman to obtain tens of thousands of pounds' worth of support meant for survivors and bereaved families.

Friday, 3rd August 2018, 8:56 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd August 2018, 10:18 pm
The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower town

Antonio Gouveia admitted fraudulently obtaining survivor support worth almost £54,000, including cash, food expenses and a £43,710 hotel bill, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard on Friday.

The Portuguese national, 33, had claimed he was living in a flat with the woman in her 80s on the night of the tragedy, on June 14 last year, which left 72 people dead.

The defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation at the hearing.

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He stayed in the Cumberland Hotel, Marylebone, for 289 days, between June last year and April, at a cost of £155 per night to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), the court heard.

He also fraudulently obtained a laptop meant for the tenant at the Portobello Rugby Trust last June, when the computers were being given to survivors.

Prosecutor Henry Fitch said: "He attended an interview with RBKC in April and said he had been living with that occupant whose name he knew.

"He attended a post depot and obtained correspondence that had been sent to (the flat). That's how he found out her name.

"He then proceeded to elaborate his account by pretending he knew that person and had been staying with her."

The fraudster, who is said to be homeless, gave two addresses to the court on Friday, which police said he had not been living at following inquiries.

Gouveia acrimoniously separated from his British partner last summer and was kicked out of the family home which "forms a backdrop to how he found himself in this mess," Davinder Virdi, defending, said.

Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram remanded him in custody to be sent to Isleworth Crown Court for sentence on August 31.

Gouveia is the 11th person to be charged with a fraud offence relating to Grenfell.