An investigation led by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), working alongside the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), revealed that for more than seven years J.A, of East Sussex, claimed to be unemployed. But, she was actually running Carltons of London, which offered ‘high class’ escort services, providing the “finest London escorts to gentlemen of distinction”. The investigation found that Adeleke had not declared any income, stealing more than £312,000 in unpaid Income Tax, National Insurance contributions and Tax Credits payments. At the same time she fraudulently claimed over £37,000 in income support and other state benefits, and laundered £157,000 of illicit cash.
Richard Las, Deputy Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“she claimed to be penniless, but this was far from the truth. She didn’t declare her income because she didn’t want to pay tax, but she did want to claim state benefits intended to help those on a low income, which she wasn’t entitled to.
“She broke the law to fund a lavish lifestyle and private education for her children, stealing money from vital public services designed to support and help struggling families.
“Our work doesn’t stop when a criminal is convicted and we are now working to reclaim the money she stole.”
Santiago Sousa, Department for Work and Pensions Fraud Investigator said:
“We know that the vast majority of people play by the rules, however this case shows our investigators are cracking down on criminals who defraud the system to make sure they are brought to justice. Working while claiming is the most common benefit fraud and we are committed to stopping it.
“Universal Credit will simplify and automate the welfare system, reducing fraud by £200m a year when rolled out fully across the country. By linking benefit claims with tax, our teams will be able to see almost immediately if a claimant is lying about work to stop fraudulent claims.”
Investigators began to look into the 43 year-old’s financial affairs and were shocked to discover she had splashed out at least £120,000 on private schools between November 2006 and January 2014, including a school which charges up to £30,000 a year.