A 49-year-old Anstruther businessman, who faked paperwork to steal almost £490,000 in tax refunds he was not entitled to, has been jailed for 32 months after HMRC investigators uncovered his VAT fraud.
John Fleming, the director of ICS Fisheries, bought fish to sell to local fish and chip shops, restaurants and fish vans in the Fife area. Between May 2007 and November 2013, John created a series of false purchase invoices adding fictitious delivery and VAT charges that he had allegedly paid. He then used the invoices to make fraudulent VAT repayment claims totalling £489,341.00.
Denis Kerr, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: “When we pay tax, we expect it to go towards paying for vital public services, not to line the pockets of unscrupulous traders. Fleming knew he was breaking the law but thought he could get away with ripping off honest taxpayers.
“HMRC is levelling the playing field for businesses, investing more time and effort than ever into tracking down those who are stealing public money. Tax fraud is a serious crime and I ask anyone with information about those who may be involved to contact our 24 hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
John pleaded guilty to Value Added Tax repayment fraud.