A woman who tried to claim a £750,000 payout by presenting a “grossly false” picture of her injury is facing jail.
Barbara Fari, 59, lied to housing group Homes for Haringey, about how badly hurt she was tripping on uneven paving.
At the High Court, Mr Justice Spencer ruled mother-of-13 Mrs Fari and her husband Piper, were both in contempt of court.
He said they face jail unless he was convinced otherwise at a hearing next week.
‘Relied on solicitors’
Homes for Haringey, which manages council housing in the north London borough, admitted liability and offered Mrs Fari £7,500 when she twisted her right knee in May 2008.
However, she pursued a massive claim, which was struck out by a judge in October 2012.
Her claim was struck out after covert video evidence revealed a huge difference between how she presented herself during medical examinations and when she was out near her home in Lightfoot Road, Hornsey.
Mrs Fari claimed the fall had aggravated her pre-existing arthritis, to the point where she was no longer able to look after her large family and instead relied on their care.
The couple denied contempt and Mrs Fari, who is illiterate, said she relied on the advice of solicitors and simply signed documents that were not properly explained.
She claimed medical experts misinterpreted what she said and the compensation offer of £7,500 would have suited her.
But the judge said she had presented a “grossly false” picture of her continuing symptoms to doctors and in legal documents and that her unemployed husband of 27 years, was complicit in the charade.
“Although Mrs Fari comes across superficially as a vulnerable and needy woman, I am quite sure she is a strong and domineering character,” Mr Justice Spencer said.
“Although lacking formal literacy skills, she is nobody’s fool.
“I am sure she is quite capable of playing on her educational weaknesses when she thinks it suits her.”
Homes for Haringey’s solicitor, Jennifer Harris of Plexus Law, said: “This decision sends the strongest possible message to anyone tempted to exaggerate a personal injury claim.
“The fact that both Mr and Mrs Fari face a potential custodial sentence sends a stark warning to those tempted to inflate their claims and anyone who helps them to do so.”
The judge will hear medical reports and character references relating to the couple next week.