Alison Jane Newton, 46, who ran two businesses buying and selling bridal dresses, while also moonlighting as a bookkeeper, admitted making fraudulent VAT repayment claims for her businesses. She also admitted to stealing from a client, who entrusted her with his tax affairs.
HMRC investigators discovered Newton had made 13 bogus VAT repayment claims for her businesses, between June 2012 and June 2015. She claimed for a string of false expenses including refurbishment of her shop and increased expenditure on bridal gowns, but then declared a subsequent drop in sales due to the shop’s closure. Newton even provided HMRC with a false bank statement in an attempt to conceal her fraud.
Colin Spinks, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Newton abused her position of trust as a bookkeeper, stealing the money that her client paid to her in good faith to put his tax affairs in order. Not only did she steal from a client, she also stole from honest taxpayers. HMRC is determined to clamp down on financial crime and make sure that there is a level playing field for all businesses.
“Tax fraud is not acceptable and we will tackle it head on to make sure there is a level playing field for all businesses to operate fairly. Anyone with information about this type of activity should contact HMRC on our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000."
When HMRC investigators searched Newton’s shop, they found a holdall full of business documents which didn’t belong to her. Investigations revealed that she had also been stealing from a client, a self-employed IT consultant, who had trusted her to keep his tax affairs in order. Over a period of seven years, he paid Newton more than £190,000 in order to settle his tax bills and pay her fees but only a small amount of that was passed on to HMRC.
The total amount of Newton’s fraud was £259,033.16.