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Mother-of-three benefits cheat from Palmers Green jailed for trying to con Barnet Council
A benefits cheat who tried to con Barnet Council out of thousands of pounds by pretending she was homeless has been jailed.
Oby Barnes, of Fox Lane, Palmers Green, owned two homes but falsely claimed £74,000 of income support and housing and council tax benefit from authorities over a period of more than ten years.
Mother-of-two Barnes also illegally claimed income support from the Department of Work and Pensions since 1999.
The investigation by Barnet Council and the DWP came after she applied to the local authority for financial help on the grounds she was homeless.
Anti-fraud investigators found the 42-year-old in fact owned properties in Neasden and Colchester.
During the trial at Wood Green Crown Court, bank records revealed Barnes had been in paid employment on a number of occasions while claiming benefits.
She had also rented out both of her properties in order to help finance their mortgages and had accumulated a significant amount of savings.
While working, Barnes frequently used a different name and a series of different national insurance numbers and dates of birth to those used to claim benefit.
As part of the investigation it also emerged that she had previously pleaded guilty in court to dishonestly claiming income support in 2005 after failing to declare she had been working part time for four years.
In total Barnes received more than £24,000 in income Support and more than £50,000 in housing and council tax benefit which she was not entitled to.
Barnes was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay back the money after pleading guilty to 17 charges of benefit fraud on September 19.
She was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service for her claims in 2005.