Pay £130k or more jail for crooked accountant

Repay over £130,000 or face more time behind bars, is the ultimatum facing a love-rat accountant already serving a six-year prison sentence for fraud offences.

Darren Upton, was sentenced in February for repeatedly diverting clients and friends payments of corporation tax, intended for HMRC, into his own personal account, spending the bounty on luxury cars and impressing a woman he met on the internet, who thought he was single - when in fact he was married with a child.

Upton accrued just under £500,000 in total though Judge Sally Cahill QC at Leeds Crown Court gave the former-ACCA accountant six months to stump up £130,000, to be shared out among the victims of his crime or see his time behind bars rise to eight years.

Det chief insp Mick Lawrenson of West Yorkshire Police's crime division said: 'Upton was incredibly deceitful, tricking his clients and friends into thinking they were paying their taxes when really they were funding his lavish lifestyle.

'I'm very pleased the judge has ordered the confiscated money to be paid to the victims in this case and hope it brings them some closure following their deception.

'The Proceeds of Crime Act is allowing us to strip criminals of their illegal gains and give something back to local communities.'

Upton, who ran a Wakefield-based accountancy firm, Upton & Co was jailed for six years in February after admitting 15 fraud offences between January 2010 and June last year, as well as 23 similar offences, which he asked to be taken into consideration.

The fraudster had previously been investigated and forced to pay compensation by the Financial Standards Authority (FSA) for an unauthorised investment scheme, but continued to commit crimes while on bail.

Upton was making a legitimate annual profit of £250,000, but according to lawyers defending his case, began offending when forced to repay £840,000 to the FSA in monthly instalments of £10,000 in connection with the unauthorised investment scheme - that had not led to criminal charges.

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