In the Media

?1000 a night 'high-class' escort jailed over ?120,000 tax fraud

PUBLISHED July 10, 2012

The 29 year-old self-employed "high-class" escort, earned more than £300,000 in two years by selling herself to wealthy businessmen.

She went on to study for a master's degree while she paid a £110,000 cash deposit on a £360,000 apartment in Knightsbridge, central London.

But after turning to prostitution when she was a poor student, she later failed to pay any tax on her earnings. When police raided her home, officers uncovered nearly £80,000 in cash along with valuable jewellery given to her by clients.

Southwark Crown Court heard Asutaits started working as a prostitute to fund a master's degree at the University of Westminster.

The court heard that precise figures were difficult to establish "given the nature of the employment she was engaged in" after she claimed she had worked as an escort for a decade.

Jonathan Polnay, prosecuting, told the court that escort failed to file any tax returns for most of her working career.

"This defendant was working for years as an escort and in that job she received significant sums of money," he said.

"To give an example of this was put a deposit on her flat on Brompton Road.

"This deposit, of £110,000 was paid in cash by the defendant, so clearly that money was available as profit, and available as cash."

He added: 'In addition, in relation to another investigation, police carried out a search of her property and found £72,702 in cash. High value jewellery was (also) found.

"When this defendant was arrested in relation to this matter in November 2011, a further £6,200 in cash was found.

"When she was arrested she read out a pre-prepared statement in which she said she had been a self-employed escort for about ten years, and that she was often paid in cash and received valuable jewellery in gifts."

She wept as the court was told that her parents, council worker Stan, 52, and Susan, 51, learned of her secret double life as a prostitute after the police began their case against her.

Prosecutors initially claimed that Asutaits made £870,000 over five years and owed £315,000 in tax. But she successfully argued that her period of tax free earnings lasted just two years.

Stan Reiz, defending, told the court Asutaits started work as an escort to fund her university education.

"It is lamentable that any young woman should have to come to London and do this kind of work in order to support herself," he said.

"Her family have been embarrassed by these proceedings, not only because of the offence but because they didn't know she was working as an escort in the first place.

"The criminal offence was committed in naivety on her part, as she was only 22 when this started."

He added: "Since this has been hanging over her, she had suffered from depression and insomnia and has taken illicit drugs, and has dropped out of her master's degree."

Jailing her for 16 months on Monday Judge Peter Testar said she had deliberately avoided paying any tax from the start.

"The amount of tax which is subject to this charge which has been evaded is £120,000," he said.

"In my judgment this was an offence that was fraudulent from the outset carried out over a significant period of time.

"From the outset the defendant made the decision that she was not going to account to the public authorities for the money that she was receiving from her occupation."

She had denied one charge of money laundering £110,000 for two alleged criminals.

She also denied using deception to obtain her £250,000 mortgage from the Birmingham Midshires building society after she had pretended to a be a racehorse consultant.

Those charges were left to lie on the file. But she admitted one count of cheating the public revenue between April 2005 and January 2007, when she earned more than £300,000 as an escort.

A proceeds of crime hearing will take place later this year to recoup some of the tax.

After Monday's hearing her parents declined to comment at their detached home in Coventry, West Mids.