Walton: Essex accountant ordered to pay back nearly £50,000 after admitting VAT fraud

Ipswich Crown Court Ipswich Crown Court

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
6:00 AM

An Essex accountant who sent in fake VAT returns for five years to evade nearly £100,000 and to live a lifestyle beyond his means has been ordered to pay a £47,000 confiscation order.

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Martin Kennedy, of High Street, Walton-on-the-Naze, was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, and a six month curfew at Ipswich Crown Court in January.

Kennedy, 54, had pleaded guilty to charges under the VAT Act 1994 and the Fraud Act 2002.

The member of the Association of Accountant Technicians was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and admitted suppressing client business transactions by £93,799 between December 2007 and June 2012.

The fraud resulted in the 
non-payment of £99,651 in VAT.

Yesterday, Kennedy returned to court for a hearing under the proceeds of crime act.

Lynne Shirley, prosecuting, said Kennedy’s benefit from his offending was £99,651 and the agreed recoverable amount was £47,282.

Judge John Devaux made a confiscation order in that sum.

After Kennedy’s sentencing in January Paul Barton, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC, said: “Kennedy made deliberate and sustained attempts to fake his VAT returns, to fund a lifestyle well beyond his means.

“He seemed to believe that as an accountant he was untouchable, but instead has learnt the hard way that crime does not pay. As well as a criminal record, his reputation and career are in tatters.”

During the investigation, Kennedy stated that if he had declared the right amount of VAT, he would have been left with a zero bank balance and would have been unable to pay his staff.

However, while committing the fraud, Kennedy purchased his marital home for £280,000 and acquired a large number of shares, but still continued to submit false VAT returns.

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