Fraudsters sentenced following Lewes District Council investigation

A father and daughter who attempted to dishonestly buy a council house and benefit from an £84,000 discount have been sentenced at Lewes Crown Court.

After pleading guilty to two counts of false misrepresentation, Graham and Hayley Bradford both received 10 months imprisonment, suspended for 20 months, and each ordered to pay £3,000 costs to Lewes District Council and carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

In his sentencing remarks, His Honour Judge van der Zwart, said: “These were thoroughly dishonest attempts to profit from local government housing. These are crimes against not only the local authority, but local authority taxpayers.”

He added: "It's a testament to the diligence of the local authority enquiry team that they uncovered your dishonesty."

The pair claimed to live together in a property in Valence Road in Lewes and made two right to buy applications for the house, but following enquiries by the council’s fraud investigation team it was revealed that Graham Bradford was living elsewhere. 

If the council had sold the three bedroomed property to them, they would have received a maximum discount of £84,200 on the purchase price, funded by the public purse. 

Councillor William Meyer, Cabinet Member for Housing at Lewes District Council, said: "There is huge demand for housing in Lewes district and we are working very hard to deliver new affordable homes to meet this need. This difficult situation is compounded when people commit this type of fraud, diminishing our stock of homes and putting extra strain on our already overloaded housing waiting list - their behaviour is selfish and unacceptable.

“The judge recognised the diligence of our officers in their work to expose this fraud and I would certainly echo those comments.  Our fraud team do an excellent job and their expertise and professionalism should serve as a warning to anyone else who is considering similar criminality.”

Report housing fraud anonymously online

Published on January 16, 2023