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 after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators uncovered his VAT fraud.
John Fleming, the director of ICS Fisheries Ltd, bought fish to sell to local fish and chip shops, restaurants and fish vans in the Fife area. Between May 2007 and November 2013 Fleming 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.”
Notes for editors
- John Ian Fleming, DOB 25/03/1958, of Waid Terrace, Anstruther, was sentenced to 32 months in prison when he appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday 4 July. He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing in May to Value Added Tax repayment fraud, contrary to section 72 of the VAT Act 1994 and offences contrary to the Fraud Act 2006.
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Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.