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£100k-a-year businessman sentenced for dodging years of child maintenance payments

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A company director earning £100,000 a year who hid his six figure salary to dodge child maintenance has today been sentenced for his deception.

Neil Terrance Teasdale, 40, from Middlesborough, had told the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) he could not pay for his child as his income was only £175 a week, but, confronted by his crimes in court, he admitted criminally diverting his income.

After thorough inspection, the CMS’s Financial Investigation Unit found he was actually the sole director and shareholder of two active limited companies. He had been deliberately hiding his lucrative earnings to avoid paying child maintenance.

Teasdale pleaded guilty to three offences of fraud by misrepresentation after being prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the CMS. Today at Teesside Crown Court, he was successfully prosecuted for trying to cheat £11,000 in child maintenance – the value of fraud when he told the CMS he was earning £175 a week.

He was sentenced to 12-months' imprisonment on each offence suspended for two years, with orders to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation days.

He owes over £60,000 in child maintenance in total with payments due for ongoing care, which he is already paying. The judge stated that had he not paid £1000 last week, the sentence would not have been suspended. Unless all is paid off in a reasonable amount of time, the debts will be recovered using the CMS’s powers which include selling property and assets.

Department for Work and Pensions Minister Baroness Stedman-Scott, said: “The Child Maintenance Service puts children first. That’s why we have a suite of enforcement powers to fight those trying to scam the system and evade their responsibility to their children, as in the particularly shameful case we’ve seen today.

“Every child deserves the best start in life and child maintenance plays an important role in this, helping to lift 140,000 children out of poverty each year. We will continue to use our powers to get children the vital money they are owed.”

George Ward, a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the Fraud Unit of Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said:

“Neil Teasdale deliberately and dishonestly under-declared the amount of income he was receiving to avoid paying the correct and higher rate of child maintenance to his estranged partner who is the parent with care of their child.

“By lying about the true extent of his income, he has deprived the mother of much needed money to help bring up their child.

“Bank statement evidence revealed that Teasdale’s income was a lot higher than he declared in the payslips he submitted to the CMS. The Crown Prosecution Service works with the Department of Work and Pensions to bring to justice the people who think they can shirk their legal responsibilities to their families and the state.”

The Child Maintenance Service is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. It was set up in 2012 – a reform of its predecessor the Child Support Agency. The CMS collected and arranged a record £1 billion for children of separated parents last year.

CMS enforcement action includes deducting cash from a wide range of bank accounts, seizing goods, forcing the sale of a property, disqualification from driving, removal of passport or a prison sentence.

The threat of sanctions in negligent cases often works to recoup owed child maintenance before they are applied, but the CMS will enforce if support is left unpaid.

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