Amsterdam social housing intern accused of using dead tenants' homes to grow cannabis
Housing corporation Ymere filed a civil suit against a former intern, claiming 150,000 euros in damages against him for fraud. According to the corporation, the then 19-year-old Amsterdammer had cannabis plantations installed in at least 12 social rental homes after the death of their tenants in 2016, De Telegraaf reports.
According to Ymere, the young man collected the keys from the deceased tenants’ relatives but never canceled their rental agreements. Subsequent rent payments went through money mules’ bank accounts, but sometimes also through his or his brother’s. For several months, the young man grew cannabis in twelve Ymere homes in this way.
The housing corporation filed a police report in September 2016. The police suspected the intern of forgery, fraud, participation in a criminal organization, and professionally organizing cannabis plantations. But he was never criminally prosecuted.
Ymere, therefore, decided to take matters into its own hands. It hired a private investigator, who visited the relatives of the deceased tenants with a photo of the intern. Several identified him as the man who took the keys from them, Ymere said. The housing corporation is now claiming damages against the young man.
“We not only had police raids in the homes but also burglaries after the cannabis plantations were discovered. All the necessities for a plantation had been removed from one of the houses. Written on the mirror was: You’re late, wankers. As a housing corporation, this is frustrating. Homes had to be repaired, and that takes time. Time during which no one could live there,” Ymere’s lawyer said in court.
The former intern, who is now in his mid-twenties, told the Amsterdam court that Ymere was looking for a scapegoat for the fraud in 2016. “I took keys, but those kinds of meetings lasted a maximum of ten minutes. Those people were asked four months later whether they recognized me. I can’t imagine they remembered me then.”
The young man’s lawyer added that it is significant that the police never prosecuted his client. The lawyer argued that Ymere waited too long with this civil suit and that the alleged offenses are passed their statute of limitations.
The court will rule on May 10.