A serial conman with dozens of previous convictions has admitted claiming that his wife and son died in the Grenfell Tower fire to scam a compensation fund out of thousands.
Anh Nhu Nguyen, 52, was given around £12,500 in money and goods from charities and the local council after claiming that he'd become separated from his family while escaping the blaze. This included a hotel room, clothing, food and electrical items.
He gave several television interviews in the days following the fire, claiming he'd lost everything he owned in the fire, and was even pictured with Prince Charles.
In fact, however, Nguyen had neither a wife or children and had never lived in the tower or anywhere near it.
He was caught out after giving several different flat numbers - some of which didn't exist.
"At one point he claimed to have lived in a flat where the sole occupant had died. He also gave TV interviews in which he described the harrowing experience of escaping from the flat he had lived in for 20 years and losing his wife and son," Kate Mulholland, from the Crown Prosecution Service, told Southwark Crown Court.
"CCTV showed that the day after the fire he was at a housing charity nine miles away in Whitechapel appearing happy and light hearted, and his mobile phone was located at his home in Beckenham."
Born in Vietnam, Nguyen has British citizenship and has lived in the UK since the 1980s. He has 28 previous convictions for 56 offences, including theft, arson and grievous bodily harm.
Nguyen yesterday admitted two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of making an untrue statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport. He will be sentenced on 15 December.
"This defendant succeeded in achieving money out of the misery and tragedy of people who, unlike this defendant if he pleads guilty, genuinely suffered by this terrible fire," commented Judge Philip Bartle.
Elizabeth Campbell, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, has warned that any other fraudsters will receive the same treatment.
"I want to make it clear - if you are fraudulently claiming money that is for the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, authorities will be tracking you, you will be found, and you will be prosecuted," she said.
Victims of scams and fraud
Victims of scams and fraud
Susan Tollefsen, Britain's oldest first time mother, was scammed out of £160,000 by a fraudster she met on an online dating site. A man claiming to be an Italian gold and diamond dealer told her he was in the middle of a land deal but couldn't access cash. Tollefsen felt sorry for him and started wiring him money, eventually selling her jewellery, her flat and borrowing £32,000 from friends to give him. Read the full story here.
In March 2015 an American woman who was only identified as 'Sarah' went on the popular US television programme the Dr Phil Show to reveal she had sent $1.4 million to a man that she had never met. Although she was certain she wasn't being scammed, her cousin made her go on the programme because she was convinced it was a scam. Find out more about the story here.
Maggie Surridge employed Lee Slocombe to lay a £350 deck in her garden in March 2015. However Slocombe used a combination of lies to scam Surridge out of thousands of pounds. He told Surridge that the front and back walls were dangerous and needed rebuilding and also conned her into building a porch, all for the cost of £8,500. Read the full story here.
It's not just individuals who can be the victims of scams, big corporations can also fall foul of these fraudulent practices. In 2015 Claire Dunleavy repeatedly used a 7p 'reduced' sticker to get significant amounts of money off her shopping at an Asda store in Burslem, ending up with her paying just £15.66 for a shop that should have cost £69.02. Read the full story here.
Sylvia Kneller, 76, was conned out of £200,000 over the space of 56 years thanks to scam mail. The pensioner became addicted to responding to the fraudsters, convinced that she would one day win a fortune. Ms Kneller would receive letters claiming she had won large sums of money but she needed to send processing fees to claim her prize. Learn about the full story here.
Leslie Jubb, 103, became Britain's oldest scam victim in August last year when he was conned out of £60,000 after being sent an endless stream of catalogues promising prizes in return for purchasing overpriced goods. The extent of this con was discovered when Mr Jubb temporarily moved into a care home and his family discovered what he had lost. Find out more about this story here.
Stephen Cox won more than £100,000 on the National Lottery in 2003 but has been left with nothing after falling victim to two conmen. The 63-year-old was pressured into handing over £60,000 to the men who told him his roof needed fixing. They walked him into banks and building societies persuading him to part with £80,000 of cash while doing no work in return. See the full story here.
Last year the Metropolitan Police released CCTV footage of a woman who had £250 stolen at a cash machine in Dagenham. The scam involved two men distracting the woman at the machine, pressing the button for £250 then taking the money and running away. Read about the full story here.
Rebecca Ferguson shot to fame as a runner up on the X-Factor in 2010 but fell victim to a scam artist last year when someone she had believed to be a friend conned her out of £43,000. Rachel Taylor befriended the singer in 2012 and claimed to be a qualified accountant, so Ferguson allowed her to look after her finances. Instead of doing this Taylor stole £43,000 from the Liverpudlian singer. Read more here.
When Rebecca Lewis discovered her fiance had started a relationship with a woman he met online she packed her bags to leave. But that didn't stop her checking out the mystery woman, Rebecca quickly realised Paul Rusher's new love was actually part of a romance scam. She told Paul just before he sent the scammers £2,000 which was supposed to bring his new girlfriend to England. Find the full story here.