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BBC ‘Saints and Scroungers’ documentary goes to Barnet

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BBC ‘Saints and Scroungers’ documentary goes to Barnet

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Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

Benefit Fraud Benefit Fraud

Barnet Council’s benefit fraud investigators star in the next episode of BBC daytime series ‘Saints and Scroungers’.

The programme airs Monday on BBC One at 11am and will highlight the work of the council’s corporate anti-fraud team (CAFT) in investigating a benefit cheat who fraudulently claimed more than £74,000.

Tenant Oby Barnes pleaded guilty to 17 charges of benefit fraud and got an 18-month sentence. Barnes received more than £24,000 in Income Support and over £50,000 in housing and council tax benefit which she was not entitled to.

The investigation led by CAFT in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions began after Barnes approached the council for assistance in 2007 on the grounds that she was homeless. But an investigation found out that Barnes, who had been receiving Income Support from the DWP since 1999 and housing and council tax benefit since 2001, was the owner of a property in north west London since 2004, and another in Colchester since 2007.

She was often in paid employment while claiming benefits and had rented out both properties to help finance the mortgages.

"The council’s corporate anti-fraud team works extremely hard to expose those who are intent on cheating the benefits system, and I’m pleased to see the team’s work being highlighted," said council leader Richard Cornelius.

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