HMRC soft on their own fraudsters

 In Fraud, HMRC

Just over a week ago HMRC issued a press release (below) saying how they took former HMRC employee to court.

Not only had Neil James Foster not declared his income (from trading games consoles, video games and DVDs) but he also claimed benefits.

The court decision?

“Foster was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months”; that means no prison at all and he has to pay just £165 in costs. He’s not even being required to do community service.

That’s pretty amazing as this is blatant fraud to the tune of £12,000 from somebody who should have known the rules. Think about this, we send around 50 people a year TO JAIL for not paying their TV licence – which is just over £145.50.

All the chatter on AccountingWeb is that this is HMRC looking after their own.

Here’s their press release…

Ex-HMRC employee sentenced for tax fraud

An online trader and former HMRC employee who lied on his tax return to steal more than £12,000 from the taxpayer has been sentenced following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

After being dismissed from HMRC’s contact centre in Peterlee in 2009, Neil James Foster, 32, of Easington Village, set up an online business trading games consoles, video games and DVDs. But an investigation into his tax affairs found that he had fraudulently declared business losses that enabled him to claim Income Tax repayments totalling £12,319.59.

Diane Donnelly, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“As someone who used to work for HMRC, Foster knew that lying on his tax return, with the sole aim of lining his own pockets, was going to land him in court.

“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime, and we will always rigorously pursue those who we suspect of being involved in such criminality. It is vital that we are able to effectively collect the taxes needed to keep the country’s public services running.”

Alongside his online business, Foster also worked for an energy company, earning a salary with tax deducted through PAYE. It was during this employment that he submitted Self Assessment forms which fraudulently showed his business had made financial losses of almost £31,000 between 2009 and 2011.

The alleged losses were offset against tax he had already paid through his employment with the energy company, and Foster was paid tax refunds totalling £12,319.

After attending a voluntary interview on 30 June 2014, he pleaded guilty to four counts of being knowingly involved in the fraudulent evasion of Income Tax at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on 8 April 2015.

Foster was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered pay £165 in costs at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court today, 22 May 2015.

Notes to Editors

  1. Neil James Foster, Clappers Gate, Easington Village, County Durham, 10/09/1982
  2. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
  3. HMRC’s Flickr channel:

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

Press enquiries only please contact:

Joshua Shrimpton Dean

Tel: 03000 554556 / 07469 023445



Nikki Sanders

Tel: 03000 524936 / 07867 970437


Out of hours

Tel: 07860 359544


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