The manager of a well-known male stripping troupe, who was sentenced in her absence for tax and benefit fraud, is behind bars after more than a year on the run.
Laurel Goodman, 57, of Willifield Way, Barnet, NW11, who co-managed the Dream Idols, absconded before being sentenced to 28 months imprisonment in September 2016.
Investigators from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tracked her to a £1,600-a-month rented house in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk and arrested her on 1 December 2017. She was living under the alias of 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.
Martin Brown, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, 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.”
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 earned while the duo managed travelling ensemble the Dream Idols.
The fraud was uncovered after a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investigation revealed Goodman had pocketed almost £5,500, money she would not have received if she had declared her true income.
Goodman was on bail and her case set to be heard at Blackfriars Crown Court on 1 September 2016, but the day before she wrote to her lawyer saying: “I am going somewhere where I am safe and cannot be found.”
Solomons, from Bristol, was given 28 months on 19 September 2016 and has served his sentence. Goodman was sentenced in her absence to 28 months in prison on the same day, and a warrant issued for her arrest. After 458 days on the run, she was traced to Norfolk and arrested in an early morning raid on her home.
Goodman appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court via video-link from HM Prison Peterborough today (5 April, 2018) 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.