A man who made nearly £90,000 by pretending to be a victim of the Grenfell Tower tragedy was jailed for more than four years today.
Abdelkarim Rekaya, 28, was sentenced after admitting fraud by false representation and obtaining leave to remain by deception.
After the fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017, Rekaya told authorities he was homeless and sleeping rough in the tower and claimed he was present the night of the tragedy.
Rekaya was put in a hotel and in December 2017 was provided a flat in Lots Road, Chelsea until July this year.
In total, he received financial assistance equivalent to the value of £88,183.70.
Rekaya – pictured above – who came to the UK from Tunisia in 2008, was also granted leave to remain for 12 months.
Enquiries established he did not live at Grenfell Tower at the time of the fire, and he was arrested in June.
Following his plea at Isleworth Crown Court in September, the 28-year-old was sentenced at the same court today to four years and six months in prison.
In addition to the prison sentence, the judge confiscated £2,000 seized by police during Rekaya’s arrest.
Judge Giles Curtis-Raleigh said: “Many, particularly in West London, did what they could to help. Your response was very different.
“You used the situation to enrich yourself dishonestly by plundering the public funds put aside for those in their hour of need.”
He continued: “You persisted in lies and deceptions to get money and advantages in immigration for almost a year. You were concerned if your Netflix subscription was being paid.”
Detective Superintendent Matt Bonner described the actions of all those trying to profit from the tragedy as truly appalling.
Mr Bonner said: “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.
“Abdelkarim Rekaya invented a story for his own self-gain and exploited the generosity of the public and the local council.
“My thoughts remain with the Grenfell community at this difficult time – they are the genuine victims who should continue to be at the heart and centre of all we do.”