A haulage-firm owner from Northumberland, who faked invoices and companies to steal more than £100,000 in tax repayments, has been given a suspended-prison sentence.
Philip Murray, 39, of Hopefoot Cottages, Otterburn, ran haulage business P&S Murray.
A HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation found he submitted false claims for VAT repayments worth £104,232.21.
HMRC began investigating Murray after he submitted a VAT return in November 2014 that raised suspicions.
Two months later, HMRC went to Murray’s home to examine his records. Checks with other companies revealed he faked paperwork for purchases that were never made and from companies that did not exist.
Murray admitted evading VAT and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 225 hours’ unpaid work by Mr Recorder Jamie Hill QC at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday.
Confiscation proceedings to seize Murray’s assets to repay the stolen money have now begun.
A HMRC spokesperson said: “Murray lied and cheated to steal money from hardworking taxpayers. Our expert investigators are trained to spot questionable claims and Murray’s scam quickly unravelled.
“We will not allow the dishonest few to attack and abuse the tax system. Tax fraud takes funding away from our public services and denies a level playing field to those businesses who play by the rules.”
Anyone with information about suspected VAT fraud should contact HMRC’s 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.