A benefit cheat claimed more than £40,000 in income support and council tax while working – as a SINGER on a cruise ship, a court heard.
Sneaky Sean Grahame, 45, received thousands of pounds in income support, job seekers allowance, housing benefits and council tax, by claiming he was unemployed and a single parent.
But in fact he was working on a cross Channel cruise ship where he entertained holiday makers with his comedy and “incredible vocal talent”.
Torbay Magistrates Court heard Grahame worked on board Brittany Ferries ships but still attended his job seekers appointments to claim for various benefit entitlements.
Investigators from the Department for Work and Pensions discovered he had dishonestly claimed benefits for seven years between April 2003 and March 2010 Grahame, of Paignton in Devon, has now been warned he faces jail after he pleaded guilty to four counts of benefit fraud.
Philip White, prosecuting, said Grahame claimed £30,492.30 in income support, £178.46 in job seekers allowance, £8,314.19 in housing benefits and £1,657.62 in council tax, totalling £40,642.57.
He said: “Information came the Department for Work and Pension’s attention in October 2008 that he was claiming benefits that he was not entitled to.
“An investigation followed and it was found that while claiming benefits he worked for a series of entertainment companies as a singer.
“In interviews in May 2009, he admitted being aware that his employment should have been declared.”
The court heard Grahame had been working for various entertainment agencies including Trevor George Entertainment, a company which lists him on its website as a “personality vocalist”.
The short biography reads: “Sean is multi-skilled. He has a great voice, is an excellent guitarist incorporating some light comedy and audience participation within his shows.
“A natural performer with a warm personality, Sean is also an established host and compere.”
Mitigating, Philippa Jackson said the fraud had come about because of Grahame’s addiction to prescription drugs and that he had every intention of repaying the £40,000.
Grahame, who was remanded on unconditional bail, is expected to reappear before Torquay Magistrates Court on October 27 for sentencing.