A GREEDY accountant who ripped off clients and the tax man to bankroll a life of luxury and his mistress was jailed for six years yesterday.
Married Darren Upton, 40, splashed the cash on a luxury flat and car for his secret lover, Victoria Louise Fraenzel, after he met her on an internet dating site while pretending to be single.
He also had a £10,000 box at Leeds United and bought designer gear, lingerie and a £3,000 model railway. There were also purchases at leading city centre stores and restaurants.
Leeds Crown Court heard how Upton’s fraud cost the clients of his Wood Street firm and the Revenue around £500,000.
Prosecutor Nick Worsley told how Upton scammed clients who thought they were paying their corporation tax bill. But the payment details provided were for his own bank account. The 33 victims still have to pay back the tax, as Upton was their agent.
Upton, of Holmsley Lane, Woodlesford, admitted 15 counts of fraud and asked for 23 further similar offences to be taken into consideration. He also admitted contempt of court by refinancing his £80k plus Bentley and his wife’s £60k plus Maserati while subject to a restraint order.
James Littlehales, mitigating, said Upton made a legitimate annual profit of around £250,000 from his business but had to pay debts of £10,000 per month to the Financial Services Authority after he got involved in an unregulated business venture.
He said: “He was not prepared to cut back on his lifestyle. Rather than give up the box at Leeds United and the vehicles which he had previously legitimately funded he then starts to misappropriate his clients’ funds.”
The court heard Upton had written a letter to Judge Sally Cahill QC saying he wasn’t “a typical inmate of prison”.
But the judge said: “That simply demonstrates your arrogance continues. You are typical. Inmates of prison are people who are dishonest. You are a thoroughly dishonestly man motivated by your own selfish greed.”