A woman has been jailed for three years for trying to sell a flat owned by her parents.
Valerie Edwards, 52 (11.02.66) 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, on 1 October.
In the spring of 2017, Valerie Edwards became aware that her father and step-mother were not going to be residing at the flat they owned in Woolaston Road, N4 for a few months.
Her step-mother had travelled to the Carribean to look after a sick relative, and she subsequently put her husband into a care home while she was away.
In May 2017, Edwards approached an estate agent and arranged for the flat to be offered directly to potential buyers looking for a flat in the area.
She was very clear that the property should not be advertised for sale publicly. A buyer was found and a sale price of £340,000 agreed.
The estate agent referred Edwards to a solicitor to provide the conveyance on the purchase. The solicitor refused to facilitate the sale without permission from the owners.
Edwards explained that the owners were in hospital and unable to attend his offices.
Edwards also provided the solicitor with numerous forms of identification, including a Power Of Attorney and a signed letter stating that Edwards had permission to sell the flat.
On Thursday, 8 June 2017, a neighbour of the property noticed people removing the contents of the flat.
When approached, the removal men explained that the flat had been sold and the new owner was having it cleared.
The neighbour contacted the owners 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 Valerie 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. The flat has since been returned to its rightful owners.
DC 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.”