Janine Adeleke has been jailed for three years after an HMRC investigation discovered she lied about the income from her escort agency to avoid paying £212,000 in tax and fraudulently claim over £37,000 in state benefits
An investigation by HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found that for more than seven years Adeleke claimed to be unemployed when in fact she was running a Bexhill-based escort business, Carltons of London, which offered ‘high class’ escort services, providing the ‘finest London escorts to gentlemen of distinction’.
From 2006 to 2014 Adeleke stole £212,000 in unpaid income tax, national insurance contributions and tax credit payments by declaring that she had no income. She also fraudulently claimed over £37,000 in income support and other state benefits, and laundered £157,000 of illicit cash.
Investigators discovered more than £1.2m had passed through her bank accounts allowing her to spend £103,000 on beauty treatments, leisure and holidays, and an additional £88,000 in high street stores. She also spent £120,00 on private schools.
When Adeleke discovered she was being investigated by HMRC she laundered £157,000 through her mother’s bank account. At Canterbury Court on 3 February 2017 she pleaded not guilty to seven separate counts of fraud, including money laundering, cheating the public revenue, tax credits and benefit fraud. She was found guilty on Monday 16 October after a three week trial.
This trial was a retrial after the Court of Appeal ruled in December 2016 against the previous conviction of September 2015. Her Honour Judge Norton, admitted that she would have handed down a longer sentence but was ‘bound by law not to pass a sentence greater than that previously handed down’.
Upon sentencing Norton said that this was ‘quite simply breathtaking dishonesty on an extraordinary scale over a lengthy period of time’ and Adeleke’s evidence was ‘evasive, difficult to follow and contradictory’. When Adeleke encountered questions she was not expecting she had ‘difficulty providing any kind of answers’ and was ‘making it up, as [she] went along’.
Report by Amy Austin