Jul 10 2012 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
A FRAUDSTER was handed a suspended prison sentence after secretly living with a partner - while raking in benefits as a single mother.
For four and a half years Sylvia Akinbola, 49, claimed she resided alone with a child in Brancker Road, Kenton, but in fact the property was called home by David Onabanjo as well.
Investigators at Harrow Council discovered Mr Onabanjo worked full time for Transport for London and had bank accounts, utility bills and a car registered to the house and that he was registered as next of kin of her two children. On top of that Akinbola was paying for her second child to attend school in the Republic of Ireland.
Akinbola was found guilty of six counts of fraud at Willesden Magistrates' Court on April 14 and was sentenced on July 3 to a 26-weeks' jail, suspended for two years, and was ordered to complete 200 hours' unpaid community service, and pay £3,500 court costs.
The court heard her claim was reassessed to retrospectively include Mr Onabanjo’s earnings and it was calculated she had been overpaid £15,680 in housing benefit, £1,969 in council tax benefits and £6,514 in income support.
Harrow Council's portfolio holder for performance, customer services and corporate services, Councillor Graham Henson (Labour), said: “The benefit system is for those in genuine need and this prosecution sends out a clear message that those who set out to exploit it will not be tolerated.
"We have a dedicated anti-fraud team that will reveal cases like these.”