Former police admin assistant repays half of the £70,000 she defrauded to fund her gambling addiction

Wendy Gunn.
Wendy Gunn.

A gambling addict who worked as a police admin assistant has repaid half of the £70,000 in VAT she defrauded from HMRC.

Wendy Gunn, of Rearquhar, near Dornoch, falsified the returns for her husband’s joinery business to fund her habit and was jailed for eight months in June last year.

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But Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood demanded that she also repay the money and was told last May that she had managed to raise £10,000 towards reimbursement.

Inverness Sheriff Court was also told she had put two properties up for sale to make up the rest.

However, the court was told on several occasions last year that no sale had been forthcoming.

But defence lawyer Rory Gowans confirmed to the Sheriff yesterday that one of the houses she had inherited from her mother had been sold and another £25,000 had been repaid.

He added: “But the other house which has had a total of four viewings continues to remain on the market at a price of £300,000.”

Sheriff Fleetwood agreed to give the 61-year-old another six months to sell her home.

VAT fraudster who tried to gain £70,000 from HMRC jailed

Last year, Gunn admitted being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT to induce the HMRC to make repayments to which she was not entitled.

The court was told that she had submitted inflated and reduced input and output figures for her husband James’s joinery business.

The case was heard at Inverness Sheriff Court.

This occurred over a four-year period because, she told tax inspectors, “she couldn’t be bothered doing the books” and she “made up” the figures.

The court heard that she became involved in gambling which did not improve her (financial) position.

Despite a plea not to jail her, Sheriff Fleetwood told Gunn: “I have looked at this case backward, forwards and upside down to avoid doing this.

“I accept your contrition and that things got out-of-hand, but this persisted for four years and £70,000 of public money was lost.

“This was continuing and gross dishonesty and only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”