Haverhill: Tax cheat worked with wife to hide his fortune
08:00 01 May 2014
A convicted tax cheat from Suffolk has been jailed after working with his wife to hide an illicit fortune owed to the public purse.
Stephen Oakley moved hundreds of thousands of pounds between accounts – some under his wife’s name – to keep detectives from his stolen cash.
The 58-year-old, from Little Wratting, near Haverhill, had been given a suspended sentence in March 2011 for his part in a multimillion pound tax fraud masterminded by Solihull con man Thomas ‘Tommy’ Scragg -–who was jailed for 17 years in 2012.
In a bid to protect his ill-gotten gains from police, who had started confiscation proceedings, Oakley worked with his wife Lorraine Oakley, 58, using their Suffolk business as a cover, to hide the cash.
An investigation by West Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) uncovered the fraud and the couple were charged.
Both were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud following a five day trial at Birmingham Crown Court in March this year.
Mr Oakley was also found guilty of three counts of perverting the course of justice.
He was jailed for two years at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday. His wife Lorraine was given a nine-month prison sentence.
Detective Sergeant Derek Tinsley said: “Stephen Oakley, along with many others involved in the original racket, had cheated the tax payer out of a significant amount of cash.
“It was our job to impose restraints on their finances and to investigate exactly how much they were able to obtain as a result of the scam.
“But he thought he could get around this legal process by working with his wife Lorraine to move the cash between different accounts, using their business in Suffolk as a cover.
“The problem for them was that there’s always an audit trail and as a result of close work with HMRC we were able quickly catch on to what they were doing and bring further charges.”
“Confiscation and forfeiture orders strike right at the heart of the principal motivation for organised crime – money.
“We will never rest on our laurels as we continue to seek new opportunities to remove assets from offenders.”
Confiscation proceedings are continuing.