prison

14 May 24

A woman who faked documents and posed as a private landlord in an elaborate tenancy scam has been jailed.

Chamberlain, aged 40, admitted to nine charges related to tenancy fraud and faking documents in Sheringham last year, and one count of possessing an article for use in fraud in Pagham, West Sussex.

She appeared at Hendon Crown Court where she was sentenced to 16 months in prison for the Norfolk frauds and a further nine months which related to a Metropolitan Police case for a theft in dwelling linked to a fraud – 25 months in total.

Chamberlain, who has a history of dishonesty and is known to operate under a string of aliases including Collins, Murrell, Rivers, and Kavanagh, agreed to rent a property in Sheringham at the end of December 2022.

She was due to pay £1,036 on 7 January 2023 and a normal month’s rent on 7 February 2023 of £850.

Instead she sublet the property to a couple who, after viewing it, signed a rental agreement and sent her £1.900. They sent a further payment to cover the TV licence.

However, just as they were due to move in Chamberlain claimed they could not as the roof had fallen in.

When a family member called round to check, he found someone else living at the property who said they were the tenant – a further victim who had also signed a contract and paid £1,800.

Under the scam people handed over cash thinking they were securing a rental property for themselves and that Chamberlain was their legitimate landlord.

During these interactions Chamberlain told various lies about being a paramedic, having illnesses, family illness, and being in the army. The legitimate landlord who let the home to Chamberlain never saw any of the money and detailed her distress in a statement read to the court.

It said: “The first thing that Chamberlain ever said to me was that ‘I have stage three stomach cancer’ this was the hook that she used to catch me.

“I had been diagnosed with stage three cancer two months earlier and was about to start chemotherapy. I tried to help Chamberlain because I sympathised with her, I allowed her into my home, something that I never do as I value my privacy.

“When I discovered that I had been conned by Chamberlain and lied to using the most grotesque excuse, I felt a myriad of emotions; embarrassment, shame, anxiety and depression. This continued during four months of chemotherapy and I could not and still cannot believe that somebody could be so cruel.”

PC Victoria Sweetland said: “Chamberlain took advantage of the situation using people’s vulnerabilities to make a gain for herself with no thought given to her victims. I hope the sentence will bring some peace to the victims, after all the deceit and stress they have endured.”

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