Joyce Msokeri, a 46-year-old woman from Sutton, has been charged with three counts of fraud after swindling £10,000 ($13,807) in aid, accommodation, food, and clothes by pretending to be a survivor of the Grenfell Tower fire that took dozens of lives in south London last summer.
She additionally faces one charge of possessing an identity document — a wrongly-obtained provisional license — with improper intention.
Msokeri, whose real address is located 12 miles away from where the fire broke out, not only claimed that she had miraculously managed to escape the flames, she also said her husband had perished in the fire and that her son had been hospitalized.
After making false claims to the Royal Borough of Kensington, the woman was provided accommodation at the Hilton in Kensington, and she later attempted to get shelter through the council also on the grounds of being one of the fire’s survivors.
In addition to the shelter and cash she received from the government, Msokeri is also accused of having taken food, clothes, shoes, and electronics from numerous charities.
She was first arrested July 25 and charged on September 4; at the hearing, she pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Msokeri isn’t the only person who attempted to take advantage of the tragedy for personal gain. A 52-year-old man named Anh Nhu Nguyen was arrested last June for also attempting to claim cash, food, electronics and clothes from the council by lying about being a survivor. He was given shelter at a Holiday Inn for two weeks.
Real victims of the fire lost everything in the inferno and are still struggling to put the pieces of their lives back together. When fraudsters try to capitalize on a situation like this fire, the government isn’t really where the majority of the damage is going — it’s the survivors trying to move on with life and who really need help that suffer the consequences.