Sudbury: Electrician jailed after VAT scam short-circuits

Friday, December 27, 2013
2:09 PM

A Suffolk electrician has been jailed for 10 months for committing an £80,000 VAT fraud.

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Steve Newman, of Newton near Sudbury, was charged following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Mr Newman, 37, owner of electrical company SN Electricians, registered for VAT in 2006 but paid nothing to HMRC despite claiming £40,000 in repayments.

He claimed that business had been poor, but when investigators looked at his records they showed he owed HMRC £77,941.

Paul Barton, HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation, said Newman thought he could abuse the VAT system by submitting false VAT returns to generate repayments.

He continued: “He (Newman) said he had borrowed money from family members to keep him afloat, but HMRC’s investigation revealed that to be a lie.

“Not paying VAT over to HMRC is illegal and anyone who knows someone committing a similar fraud should contact HMRC’s evasion hotline.”

During interview, Newman told officers he had lost all of his business records when he was clearing out his home. But after investigators confronted him with the financial records evidence, he admitted he had been doing cash jobs and that his VAT returns were not accurate.

He also admitted that the purchases on his VAT returns do not reflect his business.

Newton was given a custodial sentence of 15 months reduced to 10 months imprisonment, based on the Early Guilty Plea Scheme, with a minimum of five months to be served before review.

Confiscation proceedings are now underway.