A FITNESS instructor who was ordered to hand over more than £50,000 after she admitted a tax credits fraud is in line for a substantial refund after winning an appeal.
Rebecca Elizabeth Halliday, of The Sanctuary, Newchurch, Hoar Cross, made £14,610 from her dishonest scam.
She escaped being jailed in 2007 when she was given a suspended prison term for five counts of fraud.
But the now 48-year-old mum was hit in the pocket in 2009 when she was slapped with a £53,703 confiscation bill at Stafford Crown Court.
The order was made on the basis that she had a ‘criminal lifestyle’ and had not only benefited from the tax credit scam, but from a dishonest mortgage application as well.
However, she appealed and has now seen the bill slashed to £14,610 by top judges, meaning she can now expect a substantial cheque in the post.
Lord Justice McCombe said the order was made on the basis that she had misstated her income when applying for a mortgage on her home, which was worth £580,000 in 2004.
However, fresh evidence put before the Court of Appeal showed she had not done so and that the mortgage was granted on the basis of her partner, Ian Coppin’s, then income.
She and Mr Coppin had a sizeable deposit and he had a good income, leading to advice to them that Halliday’s income figures were not important.
“The clear picture that we have is that both transactions, so far as the appellant was aware, were ones based on Mr Coppin’s income figures,” said the judge.
“There was a significant equity in the property and the appellant’s figures were not required. She thought no more about it than that. The consequences of the appeal being allowed should be that the confiscation order made in the crown court is quashed.
“In its place is substituted a confiscation order for £14,610, with a benefit figure specified in that same sum of £14,610.”