Cumbria Crack

Judge’s prison warning for company director who committed fraud of almost £50k

Maxine Brooks outside Carlisle Crown Court

[A] COMPANY director has heard she is likely to be jailed for a VAT fiddle totalling almost £50,000.

Carlisle Crown Court was told earlier this year how Maxine Brooks filed bogus tax returns for a cleaning business she owned – Maxiclean (UK) Services Ltd – even though it had ceased trading.

These fake returns were submitted electronically and generated VAT repayments of almost £50,000. This money was paid into bank accounts which Brooks, of Armathwaite, near Carlisle, either controlled or had access to.

The 55-year-old went on trial having initially pleaded not guilty to defrauding Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. She changed tack on day two of the hearing and admitted committing the crime between February, 2014, and November, 2016.

But Brooks then lodged an application to abandon that guilty plea. This was rejected, however, by Judge Peter Hughes QC following a two-day crown court hearing earlier this week.

Judge Hughes announced he would sentence Brooks tomorrow (FRI), and remanded her in custody until then. The judge said to her lawyer, Michael Hodson: “The very strong likelihood is that she will be receiving an immediate sentence of custody.”

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