Notorious Croydon benefits cheat falsely claimed housing benefit while having properties abroad – and a YACHT
Sneaky Graham Axford, 60, also had land and properties in Wales, France and AMERICA, while he conned his local authority into paying the rent for his council flat.
Crooked Axford spent eight years pulling in £29,000 of housing and council tax benefit before he was finally caught out – after footage of him sailing his yacht was uncovered.
The high-flying cheat was living in a council flat in South Norwood, south London, while he failed to disclose land he owned in South Carolina, as well as holiday homes in Wales and France.
He was convicted and jailed of benefits fraud in 2013, but now he has been told he has to pay back more than £35,000, including interest, within three months – or face 14 years imprisonment.
Councillor Simon Hall, Croydon Council cabinet member for finance and treasury, said: “This has been a long-running case and I’d like to pay tribute to the tenacity of our investigators for bringing this to a positive conclusion.
“It shows that not only will we prosecute benefit cheats, but we will also investigate how much they have gained from their criminal activity, and seek to claim it back.”
Axford gained attention in 2011 when he was the subject of a Panorama investigation into benefits cheats.
He jailed in March 2013 for 16 weeks for falsely claiming £29,000 of housing and council tax benefit between 2003 and 2011.
Around £30,000 of this will go to the council with the remainder divided between the court and Treasury.
In his defence in the original court case he denied owning the Welsh property and had transferred the ownership of the French home to his wife.
He denied three counts of benefit fraud by false representations in the original trial.
Brazen Axford claimed incapacity benefits in 1996 for a bad back – but managed to recover enough to sail his 25ft yacht across the Atlantic just seven years later.