HMRC investigation reveals £312,000 tax fraud
A mother of five, who hid the £650,000 income she earned from her London-based escort agency so that she could avoid paying tax and claim state benefits, has been jailed.
An investigation led by HM Revenue and Customs, working alongside the Department for Work and Pensions, revealed that for more than seven years Janine Adeleke of East Sussex claimed to be unemployed. But, she was actually running Carltons of London, which offered ‘high class’ escort services, providing the “finest London escorts to gentlemen of distinction”.
The investigation found that Adeleke had not declared any income, stealing more than £312,000 in unpaid income tax, national insurance contributions and tax credits payments. At the same time she fraudulently claimed over £37,000 in income support and other state benefits, and laundered £157,000 of illicit cash.
Richard Las, deputy director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service said: “Adeleke claimed to be penniless, but this was far from the truth. She didn’t declare her income because she didn’t want to pay tax, but she did want to claim state benefits intended to help those on a low income, which she wasn’t entitled to.
“Adeleke broke the law to fund a lavish lifestyle and private education for her children, stealing money from vital public services designed to support and help struggling families.
Investigators began to look into the 43 year-old’s financial affairs and were shocked to discover she had splashed out at least £120,000 on private schools between November 2006 and January 2014, including a school which charges up to £30,000 a year.
They found evidence of lavish spending with tens of thousands of pounds spent on beauty treatments and holidays. However, when Adeleke discovered she was being investigated she began to use her elderly mother’s bank account to hide her income, laundering £157,000 through the account.