Tax of­fi­cial cheated £18k from HMRC Jail for worker who knew sys­tem

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Richard Ver­nalls Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.