Accountant jailed for stealing £250,000

Woodlesford-based accountant Darren Upton has been jailed for six years after pleading guilty to 15 fraud offences between January 2010 and June 2011.

Upton, who has asked for 23 similar offences to be taken into consideration, stole more than £250,000 from clients of his firm, Upton & Co Accountants, who believed they were paying corporation tax to HMRC.

He diverted clients' tax money into his own bank account, which financed a luxury lifestyle, lavishing money on a secret mistress and a box at Leeds United FC, a court heard.

He also admitted contempt of court by breaching a restraining order made when he was arrested in March 2011 which limited him using the firm's accounts for legitimate business purposes. Despite this he used £14,500 to refinance a Bentley Continental and a Maserati TLU 19 used by his wife.

As reported in the Daily Mail, to his clients, “he was a happily married accountant who they trusted to look after their affairs. But in reality, Darren Upton was stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from them so he could live a luxury lifestyle and keep a glamorous mistress.”

Continued...

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Comments
memyself-eye's picture

A Bentley AND a Maserati    1 thanks

memyself-eye | | Permalink

No wonder he was caught.

I allow my wife a Suzuki Swift (second hand naturally)

and direct all calls to my secret mobile.....:)

ShirleyM's picture

I can't understand people like this

ShirleyM | | Permalink

He couldn't live without his box at LUFC and flash cars to play with, in addition to an expensive mistress???

Poor diddums. Life can be so tough!

Dumb    1 thanks

neiltonks | | Permalink

Not just a crook, but also a pretty dumb one. I wonder if it ever occurred to him that his clients might be a little put out when HMRC started chasing them for tax which their accountant was supposed to have already paid over????

Craigie_Bhoy's picture

oops

Craigie_Bhoy | | Permalink

Think you guys have summed it up pretty well - hardly fool-proof, was only a matter of time.

I did like the comment by memyself-eye, the suzuki swift :)

John Stokdyk's picture

Some more background

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

According to news reports I saw yesterday, Upton gave clients his own bank account details and told them to use that account to pay their tax liabilities to HMRC.

He then filed nil tax returns and keep the money. When clients paid the money direct to HMRC, he would submit nil returns and direct the repayment to his own account. The scam started unravelling where tax was due and HMRC started to puruse the taxpayers whos payments hadn't arrived. 

As the report states, it was staff at his own firm who eventually contacted the police.

Leeds United ???    1 thanks

Roland St Clere... | | Permalink

If I had trousered all that loot and wanted to spend some of it watching the footie I would n't have slummed it at Elland Road.

Old Trafford is where I would have had my Box; right next to those other even bigger thieves,  the Glazers!!

Mistresses ?    1 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

they are always the cause of the problem...

Now here's the question Given that said offender is bankrupt,...will a POC action proceed against the recipients of those funds?.....the flat and jewelry, handbags etc etc.

or is this the way to put those funds out of reach ?

HMRC "theft"?

DavidW878 | | Permalink

We have a client who paid his tax with a cheque for £11,000.  Someone at HMRC apparently misread the £11,000 for £77,000 (despite the words on the cheque being perfectly clear), crossed through the £11,000, substituted £77,000 and paid it into HMRC's bank account.  Of course it bounced, creating costs for our client and damaging both his credibilty and his credit record. We are still awaiting HMRC's explanation: they do not seem to find their conduct at all odd or reprehensible.  I wonder what would have happened if the client had acted in this way in respect of a cheque for a tax repayment?...    

ccassociates's picture

money laundering    1 thanks

ccassociates | | Permalink

He should have been done for money laundering and got the maximum 15 yrs...... muppet

 

As the report states, it was staff at his own firm who eventuall

hpyatt | | Permalink

It was probably his trusted secretary !

Whilst his sentence is    2 thanks

Eric T | | Permalink

Whilst his sentence is justified, I wonder why it is so harsh compared to the 18 months given to the former partner of Vantis who was running a £70 million  tax scam - as opposed to this chap's £250,000.

 

There does seem to be rather inconsistent sentencing when it comes to fraud.

paulb's picture

 

paulb | | Permalink

 

If he could not make it pay with 800 clients then I think that shows what a fool he was!

what ?

The Black Knight | | Permalink

DavidW878 wrote:

We have a client who paid his tax with a cheque for £11,000.  Someone at HMRC apparently misread the £11,000 for £77,000 (despite the words on the cheque being perfectly clear), crossed through the £11,000, substituted £77,000 and paid it into HMRC's bank account.  Of course it bounced, creating costs for our client and damaging both his credibilty and his credit record. We are still awaiting HMRC's explanation: they do not seem to find their conduct at all odd or reprehensible.  I wonder what would have happened if the client had acted in this way in respect of a cheque for a tax repayment?...    

that is outrageous....clearly there was an intention to siphon off the refund later....you need to kick up a big fuss about that one !! Letter to Dave and MP and report to police..

sentence

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Eric T wrote:

Whilst his sentence is justified, I wonder why it is so harsh compared to the 18 months given to the former partner of Vantis who was running a £70 million  tax scam - as opposed to this chap's £250,000.

 

There does seem to be rather inconsistent sentencing when it comes to fraud.

I think The FSA had already brought him down for a different offence...there seems to be a court order that he was in contempt of when looking on the web.

Secret Mistress?

Dudley | | Permalink

Whoever heard of a non-secret mistress?

Any chance of getting the money back?

angusnicolson | | Permalink

I've a client who is out of pocket by £5,500 in CT he had to pay twice - once to Upton and once to HMRC.

 

Any prospect of him getting his money back?

PI claim

The Black Knight | | Permalink

as if ?

Client's usually seek out the type of accountant they need.......

Are we really supposing he just went bad at the end ?

If I was HMRC

The Black Knight | | Permalink

I would be targeting that client base with a view to collecting a lot more tax...from smaller tax offences.

But ....HMRC

won't bother !

memyself-eye's picture

I lied

memyself-eye | | Permalink

It's not a swift, it's an Alto - even cheaper.

For today (Valentine's day-so I'm told) I might even offer to wash it for her...

Dread to think of the cash flow implications had the £77,000 been honoured though!

RJ&Co's picture

Anyone know if Upton was a

RJ&Co | | Permalink

Anyone know if Upton was a member of any recognised accountancy body?

John Stokdyk's picture

ACCA, I believe    1 thanks

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

The account I borrowed from was posted by Ken Howard in our Money Laundering and Crime discussion group.

Ken points out that he was struck off by ACCA for practising without a practising certificate and subsequently got involved in the illegal currency investment scam for which he was disciplined before he starting stealing his clients' tax money.

usually mentioned in article with great glee if Chartered !

The Black Knight | | Permalink

website does not look like it.

ShirleyM's picture

We have a ltd co that was a client of Uptons

ShirleyM | | Permalink

They left because they were forever getting penalties for late filings!

This particular company is above board and wasn't looking for a dodgy accountant. The records and working papers look ok ... just filed very very late, but maybe they didn't pay enough tax for Upton to be bothered about them ;)

RJ&Co's picture

Quite a guy!

RJ&Co | | Permalink

Sounds like the answer to an exam question "How many ways can you think of to bring the accountancy profession into disrepute?"

So far we have:

No practising certificate

Involvement in scam investment scheme

Client money theft

Cheating HMRC

Supporting Leeds United doesn't do the profession's image any favours, but I guess it could be worse - it might have been Chelsea.

 

Richard Joseph (QPR Supporter)  

 

The Black Knight-

twickers | | Permalink

I think you will find that HMRC have monitoring agents conduct already setup ???

setup but not used ?

The Black Knight | | Permalink

twickers wrote:

I think you will find that HMRC have monitoring agents conduct already setup ???

They also have MLR setup and a whole host of other resources at their finger tips or so they tell us.....none of it seems to work though. LOL

sorry I wish it did.

The seriously dodgy are allowed to continue in a position of trust..even if they have been to prison once or twice.

The Black Knight

twickers | | Permalink

"The seriously dodgy are allowed to continue in a position of trust..even if they have been to prison once or twice."
Regrettably in all walks of modern life, bankers,politicians, football club owners (?) particularly LUFC

how blind can you be

PHILIP COWMAN | | Permalink

And yes the question we all know the answer to.

 

Where is the mistress now.! Standing by her man ? (yeh give me a break) moved on to the next poor mug most likley

Time for change's picture

800 clients, a mistress and a wife

Time for change | | Permalink

this guy must wear his underpants on the outside of his trousers?

With only a small practice I struggle to find the time for my gardening and other hobbies, never mind a mistress etc.

Anyhow, where he's gone, it will bring a new meaning to a "pain the a**e"!

Gardening ? hobbies ?

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Get a mistress !! You are only here once !

They do like those chaps that would steal off little old ladies which is probably not in your favour.

Oh and hand bags, buy some Mullberry handbags and you can have whatever you want.

Surely that must be taxable income even if it is immoral ? LOL

He was also disciplined back

Grayson Moore | | Permalink

He was also disciplined back in 2000 for claiming he'd passed his ACCA exams when in fact he had not, see below.

http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/news/1762947/northumberland-trainee-expelled-acca-masquerading-qualified-accountant

 

It's a wonder they let him back in !

The Black Knight | | Permalink

However he clearly never had a practising certificate and therefore should not have been in practice.

No body took any notice that he had been kicked out of his professional body which should have sent warning signals to his clients, staff and investors.

He wasn't authorised by the FSA either but that did not stop him either.