A businesswoman, banned from being a company director, has been jailed after stealing more than £158,000 from her employees’ tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC).

Valerie Windsor, 54, from Peterborough, pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of Income Tax and VAT, making or supplying articles for use in a fraud (False P60’s) and managing a company when disqualified as a director at Peterborough Crown Court. She was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, and was banned from being a company director for 10 years.

Windsor tried to get around the directorship ban by using false names, but was discovered by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Through her Peteborough-base company, Object Laboratories International Limited, Windsor deducted Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and NIC from her employees’ wages but failed to pay it to HMRC. When officers contacted Windsor to check the records in June 2013, she initially lied, claiming that the company was not yet trading. However, after officers made further enquiries, they discovered the company had been trading since 2008 and had four employees.

Richard Wentel, assistant director of HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Windsor had already been determined unfit to be a company director and the fact she then shamelessly stole her employees’ tax and National Insurance to fund her own lifestyle, shows how true this was. Her employees had tax deducted from their wages and shown on their payslips but were unaware that the money was never declared or paid to HMRC.

"In addition, failing to register for VAT gave the company an unfair advantage over competitors and other honest businesses who pay what is due. This fraudulent and criminal behaviour is never acceptable and HMRC will work to bring to justice anyone involved in this type of criminality."