tax investigation
15 years’ Experienced team
tax investigation
We take control
tax investigation
On your side

Ex-HMRC employee jailed for £240k fraud

VAT Fraud Investigation

Ex-HMRC employee jailed for £240k fraud

A former employee at HMRC has been handed two years in prison after she fabricated child credit claims to steal almost £240,000.

Tracy Ashbridge, from Sunderland, made fraudulent tax claims and changed other claimants’ applications for more than 18 children.

According to investigators, had all of her attempts over four years succeeded, she would have received more than £430,000 in total.

Ashbridge had worked for HMRC since 2012 and was paid £11,000 annually to process child tax credit claims.

From 2015, she amended her own family’s claim to falsely say her children had disabilities to retrieve ‘enhanced’ payments and also made up having two extra children.

Ashbridge changed bank details on three other families’ claims so the money would go to the accounts controlled by her and in total was getting funds for 18 children, some of whom were fictional and for most, she made up disabilities to boost the payments.

In total, she received £238,799.98, the court heard. Had she been successful, this would have doubled to £434,128.26.

Ashbridge was eventually arrested in March 2019, but the case was delayed by her husband, Robert Ashbridge, originally denying his defence, the Covid-19 pandemic and industrial action by lawyers.

Appearing at Newcastle Crown Court, prosecutor Andrew Epsley said the day before making a fraudulent claim in February 2018, she sent her husband a message asking if they should have more children, adding ‘not physically’.

Her husband, Robert Ashbridge, replied by saying ‘do you mean more money?’, proving to the court that the pair were both involved in the affair.

Tom Storey, defending, said Tracy, who was dismissed by HMRC, felt like a ‘weight had been lifted’ when her scam was uncovered and that she suffers from physical and mental health problems.

Nick Lane, representing Robert, said he was ‘deeply ashamed and embarrassed’ and had been a ‘trustworthy’ member of his church and community for decades.

Tracy Ashbridge was handed two years and four months behind bars after she pleaded guilty to six fraud charges. Robert was sentenced to 18 months suspended for two years.

MS Taxes says - if you can't trust HMRC to look after our tax money, who can you trust with it? As HMRC step up the number of investigations into taxpayers, they need to not have insiders creaming off the taxes collected. Let me know your thoughts?

#MSTaxes #HMRC #TaxInvestigations

Contact Our Team

Get in touch with us for confidential and no-obligation tax advice.

Call us on:
0333 577 6909

Email us at:

What to expect from our team...

  • HMRCPenalty Appeals & Tax Hearings

  • HMRC Tax Investigations

  • VAT Specialist Advice & Investigation

  • Contractual Disclosures

  • Offshore Disclosures

  • Voluntary Disclosures

Here to help, not to judge
Tax Specialist


Partner Nicola has a wealth of experience in dealing with all types of Indirect Tax Investigations (VAT).
Nicola has been VAT Inspector for over 20 years at HM Customs now HM Revenue & Customs. She was a Higher Officer for more than 10 years.
Her duties included carrying out vat inspections of all types and size of businesses dealing with technical issues to detecting evasion. Nicola recently joined MS Taxes as head of Indirect Tax Investigation.

Contact Tofail Rahman on:

Tax Investigation Specialist
Tofail,Founding Partner and Tax Investigation Specialist


Founding Partner

Tofail is a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 15 years of experience in accountancy and taxation.
He has worked alongside a former Inspector of Taxes gaining invaluable insights of inner HMRC workings, which he utilises to support clients through tax challenges and steer clear from possible investigations.
Contact Tofail Rahman on:

Tax Specialist
Tim,Founding Partner


Founding Partner

Tim has a wealth of experience dealing with all types of International Payroll Tax and IR35 Tax Investigations.
Tim has worked within Financial Services and Accounting since 2001 including working with HMRC on VAT investigations.
He is a specialist in International Taxation Experience, International PEO Employment Solutions as well as in providing solutions for contractors and limited companies.

Contact Tofail Rahman on:

Worldwide Disclosure Expert



Andrew began his career in HM Customs & Excise and subsequently moved to HMRC (then called the Inland Revenue) on appointment as one of HM Inspector of Taxes.
completing his training he was sent as District Inspector in charge of West Midlands and was soon transferred to Head Office as a fraud investigator in Enquiry Branch (now Fraud Investigation Services) where he spent eight years conducting Code of Practice 9 investigations on a wide variety of individuals, partnerships and companies.

Contact Tofail Rahman on: