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Crooked accountant stole £280,000 from her clients in tax payment scam

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Crooked accountant stole £280,000 from her clients in tax payment scam

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A crooked accountant stole hundreds of thousands of pounds from the companies she worked for in a tax payment scam.

Joanne Hughes was trusted to look after the tax affairs of small businesses but instead stole £280,000 from them in a brazen fraud. The accountant denied any financial wrongdoing, a stance she maintained until the fourth day of her trial at Cardiff Crown Court when she changed her plea.

It can now be reported that Hughes, from Porthcawl, has a previous conviction for laundering money for a drug dealer, and the judge warned her that a prison sentence of “considerable” length was inevitable.

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The court heard that Hughes ran a business called JHB Services which had been employed by three firms – Trio Building Contractors, its sister company Trio Mechanical Services, and a firm called RJ Site Spray – to act as company accountant. It was the defendant’s job to look after tax matters for her clients, and she ran a system whereby she would email the firms telling them what tax bills were due and how much they owed, and then ask them to forward the relevant amounts to her bank accounts for onward payment to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. In fact large amounts of that money was “simply was not paid” to the tax authorities but was kept by the defendant.

The case had been opened on the basis that between 2014…

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