Most HR Practitioners (and experienced employment lawyers) have at some time or another dealt with a claim involving expense claim discrepancies. Most of these cases have a rather mundane set of facts – over claiming mileage, filling in a time sheet incorrectly, wrongly attributing private expenditure like meals or a hotel stay for business expenditure.

Few cases I have dealt with have such a bizarre set of facts than the case of Tinney and Smith. Mr Tinney is Mrs Smith’s personal assistant. As such he has to claim Ms Smith’s additional costs allowance for running her second home. Mr Smith claims for broadband connection but inadvertently includes the invoice for some pay per view movies (which he has watched and aren’t strictly claimable), some of which are of an adult nature. Mr Tinney then asks Ms Smith to sign off said expenses, which she does, not noticing that some of the expenses claimed ought not to be recovered.

The expenses department also does not notice the irrecoverable expense receipts and pays the claim in full.

Mr Tinney and Ms Smith are of course married and some of these pay per view films were viewed when his boss, Ms Smith, was at her main residence, her sister’s spare room. Bad enough you may think, but some dirt digging journalist has uncovered the precise nature of the films watched. You really couldn’t make it up.