Ex-HMRC employee jailed for tax fraud

An ex-HMRC employee has been jailed for a year for committing £56,000 worth of tax credit fraud.

Frances Cynthia Cole received her sentence at Isleworth Crown Court on 5 August.

She previously pleaded guilty to three counts of being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity undertaken with a view to obtaining payments of tax credits contrary to section 35 (1) of the Tax Credits Act 2002.

Cole, from West London, previously worked as...

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Comments

HMRC FRAUD

ver1tate | | Permalink

Who is watching those who watch?

Well someone is watching them.

the_Poacher | | Permalink

Well, as she's been prosecuted, someone must have checked her claim.

Why are sentences on public sector workers so much harsher than on others?  Apparently HMRC workers are told that their employer wants to treat them just like workers in the private sector so surely the same standards re expectations of honesty and propriety should apply?

 

 

 

Locutus's picture

I don't see the punishment as particularly harsh    1 thanks

Locutus | | Permalink

the_Poacher wrote:

Well, as she's been prosecuted, someone must have checked her claim.

Why are sentences on public sector workers so much harsher than on others?  Apparently HMRC workers are told that their employer wants to treat them just like workers in the private sector so surely the same standards re expectations of honesty and propriety should apply?

 

 

 

If anything, she got off pretty lightly. If I stole £56,000 from my clients, I would consider myself lucky if I only got a year in the slammer.

I think it is quite right that when trust is abused (such as seems to have been the case with this lady or when an accountant steals from their client) then the penalty is a little harsher.

You aren't comparing like    1 thanks

the_Poacher | | Permalink

You aren't comparing like with like. She committed tax credit fraud.  Her sentence is much harsher than most people would get for defrauding HMRC of such a small amount

Locutus's picture

Sorry, still don't think it's harsh

Locutus | | Permalink

the_Poacher wrote:

You aren't comparing like with like. She committed tax credit fraud.  Her sentence is much harsher than most people would get for defrauding HMRC of such a small amount

She knew what she was doing and had been doing it for over 9 years. I disagree that £55,000 is a "small amount".

I think that sort of prolonged and deliberate fraud from someone that may have known the tax credit system from the inside, deserves much more than just a slap on the wrist.

how long did the plumbers get

The Black Knight | | Permalink

the_Poacher wrote:

You aren't comparing like with like. She committed tax credit fraud.  Her sentence is much harsher than most people would get for defrauding HMRC of such a small amount

How long did the plumbers get for a similar small amount. (I know one was 1 year suspended) (and I agree with comment above these amounts are not small unless you are on a civil service pension...attitude!!!)

but I'm sure the others were longer sentences

Looks pretty light to me given she abused a position of trust.

One could argue that the Civil procedure is too lenient and does not provide a deterrent though. On the deliberate defaulters list there are some that got 100% penalties for some considerable amounts that should have been prosecuted. But presumably the penalty figures look better at 100% than a POCA claim on the tax only. Whether they collect their imaginary penalties or not is a different matter the companies seem to become bust afterwards and are just struck off after no further action by HMRC.(standard procedure there then too)

HMRC FRAUD

ver1tate | | Permalink

As with all civil servants, no matter what branch, the senior staff, especially those who hired or supervised the criminal, are protecting their own jobs. Something of an 'old boys' network,

I am sure you can work out the reasoning.

davidwinch's picture

@ Black Knight    2 thanks

davidwinch | | Permalink

A PoCA confiscation need not be on the tax only - see the extreme case of Mr Steed!

However there are some advantages for HMRC in going down a tax, interest & penalty route rather than a criminal prosecution route.

For example in a criminal prosecution the standard of proof is that a jury has to be 'sure' that guilt is proven; the taxpayer / defendant can exercise a right of silence; a taxpayer / defendant who has been charged with an offence cannot subsequently be interviewed by HMRC in connection with that offence; a criminal prosecution is resource intensive (in plain English, it takes lots of time and money).

Added to which there is always the risk, from HMRC's point of view, that a prosecution might end in an acquittal or in a conviction based on a less serious loss of tax than might have been agreed following a civil investigation and settlement.

David

Thanks David    1 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Thank you David

The Mr Steed example ought to be used a bit more often as I suspect we do not have a deficit if criminal money was recovered a few times more. There would be a queue round the block for those trying to put their house in order.

Some of these cases look so cut and dried.

I do wonder if HMRC having established tax and penalties actually collects the civil penalty amount and tax as frequently (in the case of companies) they go bust anyway. HMRC will then typically not pursue the directors (they are very weak in this area they make a fuss then do nothing)

Very rarely is s.213 IA1986 or s.993 CA2006 used.

Which just serves to make our laws completely ineffectual.

either the law works or it doesn't and needs to be changed.