The manager of a male stripping troupe, who was sentenced in her absence for tax and benefit fraud, has been jailed after more than a year spent on the run
Laurel Goodman, manager of stripping troupe Dream Idols, absconded before being sentenced to 28 months' imprisonment in September 2016.
Together with business partner Barry Solomons, known as Bari Bacco, Goodman failed to declare income of more than £219,000 to HMRC between 2007 and 2013, evading £57,000 in income tax.
During the same period, Goodman evaded £114,000 in income tax on earnings of £402,000 earned while the duo managed Dream Idols.
The fraud was uncovered after a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investigation revealed Goodman had claimed almost £5,500 in benefits, which she would not have received if she had declared her true income.
Goodman was on bail and her case set to be heard at Blackfriars Crown Court on 1 September 2016, but the day before she wrote to her lawyer saying: ‘I am going somewhere where I am safe and cannot be found.’
Solomons, from Bristol, was given 28 months on 19 September 2016 and has served his sentence. Goodman was sentenced in her absence to 28 months in prison on the same day, and a warrant issued for her arrest.
After 458 days on the run, HRMC investigators tracked her to a £1,600-a-month rented house in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk and arrested her on 1 December 2017. Goodman was living under the alias of Chrissie Tatum and had been running Pet Superstars, a business making films advertising pet supplies, which had a turnover of more than £70,000 in 2016.
Goodman appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court via video-link from HM Prison Peterborough where she admitted skipping bail and was ordered to serve an extra four months on top of her original sentence.
Martin Brown, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: ’Goodman tried to run but couldn’t hide from our investigators. She chose to abscond before being sentenced for cheating taxpayers and stealing money needed to fund vital public services.
‘Despite moving to a remote location, where she lived under an assumed identity, she was tracked down, arrested and brought before the judge for sentence.’
Confiscation proceedings are underway to recover the money.
Dream Idols was dissolved via voluntary strike-off on 18 February 2014 and was not involved in any way in the court proceedings.
Report by Pat Sweet