Hampstead Garden Suburb ex-boss of Dream Idols strip troupe jailed after a year on the run
PUBLISHED: 09:19 06 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:19 06 April 2018
The co-manager of travelling male strip troupe The Dream Idols has been jailed for tax and benefit fraud after evading justice for more than a year.
Laurel Goodman, 57, of Willifield Way, Hampstead Garden Suburb, went on the run in September 2016 after admitting evading tax and failing to declare her true income between 2007 and 2013.
But after 458 days on the run, HMRC investigators tracked her down to a rented house in Wells-next-the-sea, in Norfolk and arrested her.
She had been living under the fake name Chrissie Tatum and had been running Pet Superstars, a business making films advertising pet supplies, which had a turnover of more than £70,000 in 2016.
Before running away, Goodman and business partner Barry Solomons, professionally known as Bari Bacco, 72, failed to declare income of more than £219,000 to HMRC between 2007 and 2013, evading £57,000 in Income Tax.
During the same period, Goodman evaded £114,000 in Income Tax on earnings of £402,000.
The fraud was uncovered after a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investigation revealed Goodman had pocketed almost £5,500 in benefits she was not entitled to.
Goodman was on bail and her case set to be heard at Blackfriars Crown Court on September 1 2016. but the day before she wrote to her lawyer saying: “I am going somewhere where I am safe and cannot be found.”
Her partner Solomons, from Bristol, was jailed for 28 months on 19 September 2016 and has served his sentence.
Goodman was sentenced in her absence to 28 months in prison and on the same day a warrant issued for her arrest.
In December 2017 she was traced to the Norfolk address and arrested in an early morning raid on her home.
Goodman appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court via video-link from prison yesterday where she admitted skipping bail and was ordered to serve an extra four months on top of her original sentence.
Her Honour, Judge Sullivan said: “This was a serious attempt to evade justice.”
Confiscation proceedings are underway to recover money she stole.
Martin Brown, of HMRC fraud investigation service, said: “Goodman tried to run but couldn’t hide from our investigators. She chose to abscond before being sentenced for cheating taxpayers and stealing money needed to fund vital public services. Despite moving to a remote location, where she lived under an assumed identity, she was tracked down, arrested and brought before the judge for sentence.
“If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud, I urge you to report it online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”