A council tenant was caught renting out her home in White City while living and working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Sherene Henry made thousands from renting out her flat in Ormniston Grove despite moving to Abu Dhabi in 2012 to work as a teacher.
The 31-year-old has now been handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting to illegally subletting a social tenancy at a previous hearing at Isleworth Crown Court.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council is now trying to recover the money that was wrongly paid to Henry.
Head of housing Councillor Lisa Homan said it would not “tolerate people abusing social housing for their own financial benefit”.
She added: “When there is a nationwide housing crisis it is vital that our homes are used by those in genuine need, so I hope this conviction serves as a warning not to try and cheat the system.
“In this case, the defendant was very lucky to escape without a custodial sentence.”
During the sentencing hearing on September 30, the court was told council fraud investigation officers received a tip-off that the defendant had sublet her tenancy.
The investigation revealed the defendant’s bank accounts showed payments being made under the description "rent", running from July 2012 until November 2015.
Further bank statements revealed incoming payments in Abu Dhabi that were then being transferred to the UK, the court heard.
Following further checks, the court was told the defendant’s mobile phone number revealed her to be in the UAE.
A search of her property showed no evidence Henry was living there and when she was found to have re-entered the UK, two USB sticks were seized which were examined and found to hold tenancy agreement documents between her and her tenant.
The court was told she had made thousands of pounds of profit from the scam, but the exact figure cannot be confirmed as the money is subject to ongoing proceeds of crime action to recover the council’s losses .
Henry was charged for the period from July 2012 to January 2016 and entered a guilty plea when she first appeared at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court in July this year.
The defendant, from Kingsdown Avenue in East Acton, was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for two years.