Imagine if you could change your bank balance with a word.
Imagine if, walking up to the ATM, you could decide whether you had a thousand pounds to withdraw, or a billion.
Now imagine if someone who wanted to defraud you could do the same. Imagine if every time you needed to pay the phone bill, you had to call up your estranged spouse to ask their permission. Imagine if every time you ran low on milk or bread or butter, this person got to decide whether you could eat or not.
That happened to me.
It happened to me, and it happens to men and women all the time because of one awful truth:
If you make ten thousand pounds a year, you obey the law. If you make one hundred thousand pounds a year, you obey the law. But if you make one hundred million pounds a year, you are the law.
Non-disclosure laws in the UK allow the earning spouse in a divorce to make bald-face lies about their assets. They have allowed my husband, and hundreds more like him, to dump their wives and children out on the street, hiding money in the knowledge that the courts will not pursue them. They have trapped countless women in unhappy and abusive marriages, who remain only in the knowledge that mustering up the courage to escape will leave them penniless, at the mercy of their tormentor.
When I first met Scot in 1988, I was still living with my parents. Unable to afford a home, he moved in with us in the years before our marriage. We struggled, but we were in love and we were happy.
Then, something happened. Scot began to make money – lots of it. We moved into a nine-bedroomed Palladian mansion in Oxfordshire, with staff. We had a £6m beach house in Miami and a £3m yacht.
Today, my ex-husband continued this life with a different, younger woman. I claim welfare.
Our two daughters, with whom I share a one-bedroom flat, were abandoned by their father when Scot stopped paying for their education.
Though forensic investigators have long since proved the extent of my husband’s deceit, major newspapers have exposed his plot and he was labelled a ‘fraud’ by a High Court Judge, Scot Young remained a free man.
Those who wish to follow in his path now have a shining example of how to con the taxman, scam their families and outrun justice.
My name is Michelle Young, and I’d like to stop them.
Will you help me?