Woman who posed as T.S. Eliot’s daughter jailed for fraud


London : A 48-year-old woman who pretended to be the twin daughters of American-born English poet T.S. Eliot was jailed for seven years for tax fraud, a media report said Friday.

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Alison Reynolds, a con artist was jailed Thursday for VAT frauds totalling 120,000 pounds, Daily Express reported.

She pretended to be both Claire and Chess Eliot, who she insisted were the twin daughters of the poet. In fact the poet never had any children, the Express said.

She used wigs, stage make-up and a variety of costumes to portray herself as at least 32 different people via a string of fake companies, including one theatre firm aptly named Myths And Mirrors.

Reynolds posed as a producer and director and falsely claimed VAT credits in the name of bogus dramatic companies, according to the Express.

She even wrote a “to do” list of the VAT frauds she was planning. Actors’ union Equity issued a warning about her in 2006.

Prosecutor Cairns Nelson QC told Southampton Crown Court: “She is a dishonest fantasist.

“It is doubtful whether there was any legitimate trade carried on with most of these companies. They were used as a vehicle to commit fraud. She created a job lot of bent accounts and used them for each of the companies.”

The court heard she had a history of fraud and forgery relating to offences dating back to 1987.

Reynolds set up The Journeyman Theatre Company and wrote a play, “Desperately Seeking Jake Roverton”, to make her scam more compelling. She convinced an arts centre to let her rehearse for free and let her run courses.

Judge Peter Ralls QC said: “There is an extraordinary level of planning and preparation and a staggering level of dishonesty.

“I’m not sure I have seen a case which involved such persistent and detailed fraudulent activity.

“This is not VAT evasion – you are basically stealing from the public purse, dipping in as if it’s your own and taking money.”

Reynolds was jailed for six years concurrently for the eight counts of fraud. She was also given a 12-month sentence for perverting justice and breaching the restraining order.