A businessman who illegally claimed more than £35,000 in benefits despite owning a £2million property empire has been jailed.

Mohsen Sabet ran two shops and had more than £80,000 stashed in a string of bank accounts but still claimed thousands of pounds from the taxpayer over a period of seven years.

The 48-year-old, of Laurel Way, Whetstone, even changed his name by deed poll to avoid being caught by the three local authorities he deceived.

Sabet was jailed for nine months at Wood Green Crown Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to ten charges of benefit fraud.

The conviction came through an investigation by Barnet Council’s fraud team after suspicions were raised by the neighbouring authority in Enfield.

Officers discovered that Sabet had illegally claimed the cash from Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Councils between 2004 and 2011.

This included more than £6,500 from Barnet Council under his previous name of Mohsen Aboudarda.

They also found he owned and was running two luggage shops in Enfield and Tottenham and that he owned several homes in the name of Sabet.

The benefits cheat also owned four properties, three of them outright, and had 17 different bank accounts at one time containing a total of £800,000.

He later also admitted to having assets in Iran worth more than £1million.

Sentencing on Thursday, Judge Patrick described the frauds as "systematic, deliberate and dishonest, motivated by greed and a sense of personal injustice."

Confiscation proceedings have also been initiated to recover the money.

Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius said: “This was a truly brazen attempt by a man who owned a business and significant assets to cheat the system and claim benefits which are intended to help those in genuine need.”