As an avid viewer of England’s soap opera Eastender’s I was personally intrigued by the story of Nicola Stapleton’s father, who was charged with VAT (Value Added Tax) fraud and nonpayment of his penalty. Nicola is well known for her provocative and bad girl role on the show. After a 17 year hiatus from Eastender’s Nicola returned in 2011 and reprised her role as stripper Mandy Salter.
Nicola’s father, Vincent Stapleton, has been jailed by District Judge Michael Snow of the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court for 342 days, after prosecutors claimed he “repeatedly thumbed his nose” at official orders to repay his debts.
Stapleton was originally sentence in 2001 to jail for five years and to repay £1.7 million after he and nine other men were arrested during an 18-month joint investigation by Customs and the National Crime Squad for a £9 million scam involving VAT on computer chips. Claiming he couldn’t afford to pay the amount stated the penalty was later reduced to £220,000 which he did not pay.
During this time Stapleton purchased two houses by illegally obtaining mortgages by falsifying information about his employment and earnings. He then received benefits in housing and disability in order to keep up the repayment of these loans. Stapleton stilled owed the taxpayers in excess of £1.5 million and had court restrictions on his financial activities.
Judge Snow also stated that Stapleton had committed a “serious fraud” in his mortgage application and having “lied and lied again”, while at his hearing he was sentenced to 342 days.
If Stapleton can repay his outstanding debt of £207,215 he will be released.
Nicola and her brother have been questioned with having any wrong doing with the fraud and Nicola has not been charged. However, her brother, Vincent, Jr. has admitted guilt and was required to pay a fine of £10,000.