The men, who had mainly worked as subcontractors including painters, decorators, builders, and roofers, submitted false claims for tax repayments.
James Roberts, of Widnes, was at the centre of the conspiracy, which was uncovered by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigators. He was found to have made multiple fraudulent amendments to his own tax returns and allowed his bank account to be used by other members of the gang. His partner, Natasha Sinnott, 22, of Bootle, helped the fraudsters by allowing the stolen taxes to be laundered through her bank account.
The fraud was uncovered by the Income Tax Self-Assessment Repayments Taskforce which targets individuals who submit false income tax self-assessment claims. The false claims were made under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).
HMRC withheld the majority of the tax repayments when suspicious activity was detected and will now look to recover any remaining stolen tax using civil and criminal proceedings.
Those sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 20th February were:
- James Lee Roberts, 27, of Widnes, jailed for three years
- Steven Peter Jones, 28, of Widnes - eight months jail suspended for two years
- Stephen Edwards, 32, of Widnes - 10 months jail suspended for two years
- Patrick Molyneux, 31, of Maghull - 11 months jail suspended for two years
- Kieran Rigby, 28, of Widnes - eight months jail suspended for two years
- Stephen Yemm, 34, of Widnes - nine months jail suspended for two years
- Gregg Carter, 26, of Widnes - four months jail suspended for two years
- Ashley Hughes, 26, of Widnes - 11 months jail suspended for two years
- Scott Keegan, 27, of Widnes – five months jail suspended for two years
- Natasha Sinnott, 22 of Bootle, sentenced to four months jail suspended for 12 months for money laundering on behalf of others in the fraud.
Two other men are due to be sentenced this week – James Rutherford, 31, of Kirkby, and Vincent Mccluskie, 45, of Seaforth.