There are many different reasons why people undertake fraud, and sometimes the circumstances behind the reasons for the fraud will have an impact on the defence that a person makes when defending themselves against the claims. Of course, there will be other times as well when the reasons for people undertaking fraud don’t have much of an impact on any defence that a person can make in their defence. In this regard, the solicitor firm representing the accused will need to provide as robust a defence as they possibly can.
It is unlikely that committing a scam to have the money to recreate a U-boat on a canal will hold much sway with any court, and this was the case recently for an accused from Blackpool. Richard Williams, a 55 year old male, made a number of falsified tax claims for orders that were supposedly made for beds that he made for people who were suffering from disabilities. Williams made a number of large and extravagant buys, with a £50,000 narrowboat being one of the purchases read out in court. This narrowboat was later converted into a replica submarine.
Tough sentencing for a Serious Crime
The case was heard in Manchester Crown Court with Williams being jailed for four and a half years. The court heard that Williams was previously known by the name of Steven Howarth, and in court he pleaded guilty to three separate charges of cheating public revenue and fraud. The HMRC were represented at court and they said that Williams was in charge of running a replica World War II German U-boat, which he did so as an attraction in Leeds, at the Clarence Dock in the city. As part of his promotional activity for the work he carried out for the attraction, Williams created a number of videos and he placed them on social media sites. It was clear from the evidence provided that Williams had purchased a lot of extravagant items including luxury cars, yachts and he also chartered private jets.
Couples can often be involved in the same Crime
In addition to Williams being sent to jail, his wife Laurel Howarth, who was previously known by the surname Monckman, was also sent to prison, receiving a 20 month sentence. This came after Howarth pleaded guilty to three different counts of VAT fraud. The methodology of the fraud revolved around the married couple using names of their friends to carry out fraud, with the couple even changing their name by deed poll to ensure that their identities matched what they claimed. The fact that Williams was known as a different name was clearly seen as a suspicious thing in light of all of the other activities that came to light in the court. The couple were also found to have created a number of false invoices with fake customer records from four different companies to help them make the false claim with respect to VAT repayments.
The companies were Sleepability, which was based in Blackpool, and which traded between 2005 and 2006 and Ortho-matic, a Lancaster based firm which traded between 2007 and 2008. Another firm that was used was the Discount Mobility Store, which was based in Workington in Cumbria and was trading between 2009 and 2009 while the remaining company was Adjustabed, which was located in Penrith and which traded between 2010 and 2011.
In court, Williams said; “I regret what I did sincerely but it did have its moments” whole he also said that it was a “crazy time” while admitting that it was a “very silly thing to do”.
While in some cases you can see why people have committed fraud in order to raise money for their loved ones or to pay off debts, but in this case, the reasoning behind the action seemed to revolve around pleasure and fun.
Of course, the reason for committing the fraud is only one component of defending someone that has been accused from fraud, and this is why hiring the services of an experienced solicitor firm who have worked on fraud cases is crucial. There are many different ways in which fraud allegations can be defended, and the experience and expertise of a professional firm can go a long way in ensuring that a client is defended in the most effective manner.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.