Belfast Telegraph

Former HMRC employee who stole £30,000 in tax credits given suspended sentence

A former HMRC employee who lied about being a single parent to steal tax credits has been given a suspended sentence.

Laura Southern, of Clonmore Park, Lisburn, had beem employed as a HMRC Benefits and Credits Compliance Manager in Belfast, responsible for checking for fraudulent tax credit claims.

Over five years she falsely claimed to be a single parent while living with her partner.

Between 2012 and 2017 she fraudulently claimed £34,209.44 in tax credits.

Southern had been a HMRC employee for 16 years until her dismissal in August 2017.

She had been interviewed under caution in February 2017, after investigators found she had been living with her partner and providing false information.

At Craigavon Crown Court on Tuesday she was given a 15-month sentence, suspended for three years.

Joff Parsons, Assistant Director, Internal Governance, HMRC, said:

“Southern was employed to track down people committing the very crime she has been convicted of. She knew exactly what she was doing and even though she knew it was wrong, thought she could get away with stealing tax credits she wasn’t entitled to. But her deceit was exposed and now she is paying the price.

“We expect the highest professional standards and integrity from our staff; no one is exempt and we will pursue criminals like Southern who think it is acceptable to steal tax credits. We ask anyone with information about tax fraud to contact the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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