VAT scammer gets suspended sentence
An Essex flooring contractor has been prosecuted for tax fraud.
Wayne Larry Poole, 44, attempted to steal almost £150,000 in VAT fraud by running an unregistered flooring business and using a fake VAT number on his invoices. He has been sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Lewes Crown Court.
Poole was arrested by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigators in June 2013 following a simultaneous search of his home at that time in East Grinstead, West Sussex, and registered business address in Tilbury, Essex. Several years’ worth of sales records for an undeclared business were found at his trading address, along with £135,000 in cash hidden in an airing cupboard at his home address.
Further investigations revealed that Poole was operating another unregistered business in Staffordshire and that he was using a fake VAT registration number on his invoices to avoid paying the full amount of tax. He lied to officers claiming that it was just a clerical error. He also claimed that the cash in the airing cupboard was the winnings from gambling in London casinos. Investigations proved that this was also not true.
The cash was seized under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and was ordered forfeit to HMRC on 13 October 2015 by the City of London Magistrates Court.
HMRC assistant director David Margree said: “Poole blatantly spun a web of lies in an attempt to hide the true extent of his fraud. He was greedy, using the money to line his own pockets and giving himself an unfair advantage over his competitors.
“He has now paid the price for his fraudulent activity through gaining a criminal record and forfeiting the seized cash.”
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This article was published on 11 Jan 2016 (last updated on 11 Jan 2016).