Tax official cheated £18k from HMRC Jail for worker who knew system
AFORMER tax official who used her insider knowledge to cheat the revenue out of £18,800, and used the cash on foreign holidays, has avoided jail.
Tracey Griffiths, from Stourbridge, who worked for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), claimed to be single and on benefits, but was pictured with her spouse in a Facebook post enjoying their first wedding anniversary.
She was handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence at Warwick Crown Court after being convicted of fraud, HMRC said.
The 37-year-old former tax credits compliance officer brought her 15-year career with HMRC to an end when bosses uncovered her wrong-doing, and sacked her in May 2017.
During the fraud, she claimed to have been a single person between 2014 and 2016, having split from her husband.
In fact, she was living with her spouse in Kingswinford, near Dudley, for the whole two-year period.
They holidayed seven times to destinations including Paphos in Cyprus and the island of Tenerife.
During the period, she was also bought a new car and had £3,000 in cosmetic surgery, paid for by her hus- band. She was found guilty after a trial last month.
Judge Peter Cooke, sentencing Griffiths to a 12-month prison term, suspended for 12 months, told her: “Over a protracted period of time through thorough dishonesty and an inside knowledge of the tax credit system you inflated your household income through fraud. The evidence was clear and compelling. What was also pretty compelling is that a good chunk of that surplus was spent of foreign holidays, which you could not have afforded on your legitimate income. “You wanted a better lifestyle and you have shown no hint of remorse.”
Griffiths, of Newbury Road, Wordsley, had worked for HMRC since 2002 and was working at an office in Wolverhampton at the time she was sacked, but had previously worked as a tax credits compliance officer.
After sentencing, Adrian De Ath, HMRC’s assistant director of internal governance, HMRC, said: “This was a gross breach of trust.
“Griffiths exploited her position and used her detailed knowledge of the tax credits system to claim money she knew she was not entitled to.
“Corruption amongst our staff is rare and will not be tolerated.
“There is no place within HMRC for criminals like Griffiths. We will now work hard to recover the proceeds of her crime.”
> Tracey Griffiths