Lawrence Conway from London was investigated by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) after he submitted fraudulent VAT repayment claims of £135,325 on behalf of a business partnership called Tallulah Racing for the cost of keeping a racehorse from 2003 to 2013. However, HMRC’s investigation revealed that the horse, called Thunder Cat, had failed to race since a ninth place turnout in 2001 at Lingfield Park.
HMRC also discovered that Conway had worked as a chartered surveyor, but never declared his earnings for 10 years, evading more than £61,500 in income tax and national insurance contributions. He had also charged VAT on invoices, even though he was not VAT registered, to pocket a further £16,000 of taxpayers’ cash.
HMRC assistant director John Cooper said: “Not content with stealing money through his racing syndicate, Conway went on to steal through his profession as a chartered surveyor. He clearly thought he was invincible, and could not get caught. He was wrong and is now behind bars for stealing honest taxpayer’s money and depriving public finances of much needed funding. His actions have ruined his reputation and career.”
Conway’s fraud was uncovered during routine HMRC compliance checks but alarm bells rang when he repeatedly stalled HMRC officers and avoided attempts to check his financial affairs.
Conway was arrested in July 2014 and later charged with offences under the Tax and Management Act 1970, the Finance Act 2000, the VAT Act 1994 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Since his arrest in July 2014, Conway has paid off £209,764.34, including interest of £12,858.22 to HMRC.