Crooked accountant must pay back plunder

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A CROOKED accountant must repay more than £130,000 worth of ill-gotten gains or face two more years in jail.

Darren John Upton, 40, appeared before Leeds Crown Court today (Thursday) where a confiscation order was granted under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Upton, of Woodlesford, is currently serving a six-year prison sentence after being convicted of fraud offences.

He worked as an accountant on Wood Street and had been receiving payments from clients and friends in order to pay their Corporation Tax to the HMRC - only to deposit the money into his own bank accounts.

Today the court heard how the value of Upton’s crime was deemed to be £496,802. He now has six months to pay £132,416 or face a further two years in prison.

Judge Sally Cahill QC ordered the money available should be distributed amongst Upton’s victims.

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.”

This month officers have been targeting those who are living off the proceeds of crime. Last week they arrested 33 people, executed 39 search warrants and recovered cash, drugs, counterfeit products and other stolen items as part of a week of action.

If you have any information about such activities call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or visit www.westyorkshire.police.uk/whyshouldthey