RAF’s top man at the Pentagon convicted of £20k fraud

Wing commander Alex Drysdale appearing at Catterick military court
Wing commander Alex Drysdale appearing at Catterick military court, where he was convicted of fraud - GLEN MINIKIN

A top RAF officer based at the Pentagon has been convicted of fraud over £20,000 payments he hid from the defence department and his wife.

Wing Commander Alex Drysdale defrauded the Ministry of Defence to claim £19,500 in allowances he was not entitled to.

The fraud arose when the father-of-two bought a home in Las Vegas – a sprawling four-bedroom house with access to a communal pool and spa – which his family had previously been renting for £2,408 a month.

However, he failed to tell the MoD of the purchase and carried on banking so-called Overseas Rent Allowance – a full rent reimbursement he was no longer eligible for. The money was deposited in a personal account he hid from Mrs Drysdale.

The Scottish officer, who has served in the US since 2011 was promoted to Wing Commander in 2021 and assigned to serve with the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability (AFWIC) at the Pentagon.

His fraud was uncovered by Stuart Phillips, a fellow wing commander, with whom he had served in Nevada for some nine years.

He believed Drysdale may have lied to him when he claimed not to have bought the home in a conversation in April 2022.

The wing commander searched court records to discover that Drysdale had bought the house in February 2022 and raised his concerns with Air Cdre Jez Attridge, UK Air and Space Attache to the United States.

In a statement, Wing Commander Phillips said he had been friends with Drysdale for nine years, that their families would socialise together and they had taken skiing trips together.

He said: “He had told me of his intention to purchase the Las Vegas property so that when he was posted to Washington DC his wife and children could stay there when he moved.

“We spoke via Facebook messenger and he said he was yet to purchase the property as his landlord was making it difficult.”

Cdre James Farrant, prosecuting, told the military court at Catterick: “The prosecution case is that Wing Commander Drysdale deliberately and dishonestly concealed the fact he purchased his home from British Defence Services in order to continue claiming the allowance.”

Drysdale told the military court at Catterick he had no idea he had infringed MoD rules and was open and honest about purchasing his home, which he bought for $645,000 (£508,131).

However, he was convicted after a four-day trial of fraud by misrepresentation and will be sentenced at a later date.

Adjourning the case until April, Judge Advocate Smith told Drysdale: “This one blemish detracts from, but does not take away completely, from your 20-plus years of service.”