Only one person admitted council housing fraud during a two-week amnesty organised by Basildon District Council.
The council had vowed not to prosecute people who admitted offences such as illegally sub-letting a property if they owned up before 26 May.
Councillor Phil Turner, cabinet member for resources, said he was disappointed at the response to the amnesty.
The council has now begun a crackdown on those committing housing fraud.
Mr Turner said anyone who had not owned up to wrongdoing during the amnesty "must face the consequences."
The council has received £35,000 of extra government funding to tackle the problem of housing fraud in the area.
When the council began the amnesty they estimated as many as 825 council homes in Basildon could be the subject of housing fraud.