Accountant’s £296k tax gamble wins jail sentence

A West Midlands accountant who funded her gambling habit by submitting false self assessment claims worth £296,000 on behalf of unsuspecting clients, has been jailed following an HMRC investigation

HMRC found Gail Henshall, from Wolverhampton, had submitted false claims on behalf of almost 200 people. Henshall submitted legitimate repayment claims on behalf of her clients, passing the money on to them. But she would then amend returns and resubmit, without their knowledge, to increase the repayment amounts and keep the additional money paid by HMRC.

In some instances Henshall altered clients’ personal details including their address details, so that HMRC correspondence was sent to an address connected with her. 

Between March 2008 and January 2014 Henshall received multiple tax refunds, many of which were then passed into an account controlled by her friend, Mario Troisi. Troisi subsequently transferred the cash back into Henshall’s various online betting accounts. At one stage Henshall was placing wagers of up to £9,000 a day on betting websites.

Richard Wentel, HMRC assistant director, fraud investigation service, said: ‘Henshall’s clients were paying for a service to help keep their own tax affairs in order but she was abusing her position to steal hundreds of thousands of pounds, using their details as a smokescreen. She was despicably using money that should be funding vital public services to feed her gambling habit.

‘Troisi played an instrumental part in her scam, as he laundered the money which Henshall then gambled away. Now they are both paying the price, losing their reputation and freedom.’

At Warwick Crown Court Henshall and Troisi were each sentenced to 32 months in prison.

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Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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