North West Regional Organised Crime Unit
 

Fraudster Graham Stewart sentenced to four and half years imprisonment

Mon 09th, Jan

Graham Stewart, was subject of a fraud investigation covering criminality spanning over nine years.

Graham Stewart, 43, of Iris Park Walk, Maghull, was investigated by officers of the NWROCU who uncovered offences of mortgage fraud, theft of a motor vehicle, insolvency offences, money laundering and benefit fraud, covering the period from 2004 to 2013.

Stewart a convicted drug dealer purchased a number of properties whereby information and documentation provided by him was false, specifically employment details including wage slips and P60's. He later bought a BMW X5 on finance before cancelling his direct debit and shipping it to Cyprus, where it was re-registered.

Graham STEWART sold his home address to a Cypriot company of which he was the beneficial owner. The transfer was completed in April 2010. A condition of sale was that STEWART was allowed to reside in the fully furnished property, rent free for a period of 12 months.

In November 2010, Stewart filed for bankruptcy, he hid assets including his home address, foreign villas and a £35,000 Rolex watch.

Whilst bankrupt he claimed housing benefit whilst residing in a home for which he is the beneficial owner of.Graham STEWART has been subject to a restraint order since March 2012,which he has totally failed to comply with.

Jailing him for four and a half years at Liverpool Crown Court, on the 6th, January 2017, Judge Flewitt said: “These offences represent an unbroken course of dishonest conduct.”

He admitted three counts of obtaining services by deception and one of fraud between June 2004 and April 2007.

David Potter, prosecuting, said he secured advances of £172,500, £88,774 and £100,000 from mortgage lenders for homes in Gateacre, Maghull and Accrington.

He claimed to work for a company called All Trades Limited and earn up to £90,000 a year in wages and rental income.

He made the same false claim to another lender for an £111,479 remortgage of the Lancashire property.

Stewart admitted theft after buying the BMW in 2008 with £58,000 of finance, but stealing it in July 2009.

Judge Flewitt said: “You made relatively few payments before cancelling your direct debit mandate and arranging for the car to be shipped to Cyprus in the name of your brother, where it disappeared from view and out of reach of the finance company.”

The court heard Stewart hid documents from the Official Receiver revealing assets that could have cleared his debts.

He admitted failing to hand over books and four counts of concealing criminal property between November 2010 and December 2011.

This included two cash-generating villas in Cyprus and the Rolex watch - found in a safe at his home.

He tried to protect his Iris Park Walk, Maghull home by selling it to Cyprus-based NEFEA Limited of which he was the beneficiary.

Stewart admitted £7,257 of benefit fraud, which Judge Flewitt described as “a particularly cynical piece of dishonesty”.

He said: “You rented it back and claimed housing benefit at the rate of £550 per month, even though you were in fact at the time enjoying a rent-free period.”

Stewart admitted two breaches of a restraining order made during the investigation to curb his lavish lifestyle.

He rented a £2,000 per month Aughton home - twice the amount he was allowed to spend - and paid £7,000 towards a BMW he later sold.

Stewart was jailed for seven years for conspiracy to supply heroin in 1999 and was still on licence at the time of the first offence.

In September 2012 during this investigation Stewart was convicted of racially or religiously aggravated common assault.

Judge Flewitt said He agreed with the author of a pre-sentence report that: “The remorse he demonstrated appeared to be for the consequences of being discovered.”

Stewarts sentence consisted of 12 month's imprisonment concurrent for each offence of mortgage fraud.

6 month’s custody – consecutive for theft of the BMW X5.

32 months imprisonment consecutive for money laundering concealment of 2 villas in Cyprus, concealment of his beneficial interest in a Cypriot company called Nefea Ltd, concealment of a Rolex valued at £35,000 and failing to deliver up his papers and books following bankruptcy.

4 months custody consecutive for benefit fraud. The final 2 counts were breaches of his restraint order where he was given 3 months on each count concurrently, making a total of 54 months imprisonment.

Detective Chief Inspector Dean Holden, from TITAN said: “We are pleased that a three-year investigation into the lies, deceit and ultimately fraud committed by Graham Stewart, has resulted in today’s custodial sentence.

“Stewart’s fraud was not a victimless crime and over time ran to over £400,000, meaning Stewart led a lifestyle most of us can only dream about.

“My officers will now be looking at using powers under the Policing Crime Act, which allows officers to seize the assets of criminals. Any money or assets seized can be used by law enforcement agencies to take more criminals off the streets and put them behind bars where they belong.”