Talwinder Singh, 57, has escaped jail after building a block of flats without permission containing windowless rooms that he then rented out. Talwinder was refused permission for the block containing six flats in Water Beach Road in the Manor Park area of Slough by Slough Borough Council.
However, he built them regardless, and in 2010 was hit with an enforcement notice.
He then claimed the property had been returned to a single home in line with the enforcement notice and had told the authority’s building control and council tax departments. However, he had rented out the six flats to tenants, and even had temporary kitchens installed which could be removed if council officers visited.
He also removed the windows on the top floor attic flats to give the impression the rooms were not rented out.
He also charged the tenants an extra fee for council tax, despite only paying the council for the one property he declared.
Judge Paul Dugdale, sitting at Reading Crown Court, sentenced Singh, of Middlegreen Road, Langley, to a 15 month jail term, suspended for 18 months.
He was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £266,177, which represented the illegally obtained rent and unpaid council tax, which was confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The council was awarded £18,826 in costs for its own lost council tax and £23,130 in prosecution costs at the hearing on Thursday, March 21.
Judge Dugdale told Mr Singh he had been “greedy” and prepared to inconvenience his tenants to maintain the facade.
He added he had “totally ignored” the council’s planning decision and used dishonest acts to hoodwink the council over a number of years to maximise his personal profits.
He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work over 12 months.
And he faces up to 30 months in prison if the money isn’t paid back within three months.
Neil Wilcox, director of finance and resources at the council, said: “This successful prosecution is a result of a thorough and painstaking investigation by the council’s Fraud Team and has lead to the recovery of a significant amount of lost council tax.
“Singh told the tenants he was paying their council tax when it actually went directly into his pocket.
“He was prepared to inconvenience tenants, some of whom had young children, by removing evidence from the flats and making them go without kitchen facilities, in an attempt to defraud the council.”