HMRC worker who fleeced tax credits jailed

A former employee of HM Revenue & Customs who stole more than £93,000 in tax credit payments while working for the department has been jailed for 18 months.

Tracy Oakley, 43, who worked at HMRC’s St Austell office, fraudulently claimed tax credits between 2006 and 2013, by saying she was single when, in fact, she lived with her husband.

She also lied by inflating the true cost of childcare, including making claims for three years (since September 2009), during which time no childcare was provided.

When challenged by HMRC to evidence her claims, Oakley provided false, consecutively numbered handwritten invoices and a fake childcare contract, in a bid to hide her deception.

The childcare receipts showed payments of around £280 a week, made in cash, but the Revenue found that the sums were not supported by her bank statements.

The fraud took place between November 2006 and September 2012, whereas her fraudulent claiming of tax credits went on longer, right up “to the date she was arrested.”

HMRC added that it began in February of last year to investigate Oakley, who was arrested in September and subsequently sacked by the department, in April 2013.  

“Oakley stole from her employer and the wider public,” reflected Joff Parsons, assistant director of HMRC Internal Governance Criminal Investigations

“She has lost her job and reputation, and gained a prison sentence. HMRC investigates any suspicion of wrongdoing and our internal security systems led to this successful prosecution.”

In court this month, Oakley admitted being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity undertaken with a view to obtaining payments of a tax credit and to perverting the course of justice. She was jailed for 18 months - nine months for each offence to run consecutively.

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