A pair of company bosses, who "spun a web of lies" so they could steal more than £360,000 through various tax frauds, have been jailed.
Mark Creswell, 52, of Ingham, Lincoln, and Craig Williamson, 44, of Rastrick, West Yorkshire, both made a series of false VAT repayment claims between 2008 and 2014 to steal money that funded their lifestyles. Mr Creswell also failed to declare income from properties he rented, while Williamson lied about his earnings when claiming tax credits.
The duo spent the money from the fraud on parties, going for extravagant meals, trips abroad, clothes and home improvements.
HMRC uncovered the frauds after discovering the pair’s spending was way beyond their declared incomes.
During the investigation HMRC officers found that while Mr Creswell claimed to earn up to just £8,000 a year, his monthly outgoings were regularly about £3,500. And Mr Williamson said his annual income was £14,000, but he paid £1,200 per month in rent alone.
Mr Creswell’s letting company submitted 25 false VAT returns worth £148,154 in stolen tax. He also failed to declare that he rented out five properties, meaning he should have paid £16,823 Income Tax on the rental income.
The pair jointly ran Lincoln Car Sales Ltd. Mr Williamson admitted making up the company’s VAT figures and submitting 23 false returns to fraudulently claim £179,423. He also stole £17,356 in tax credits by under-declaring his income on application forms.
The men were arrested in October 2014 when HMRC officers raided their homes. £3,450 in cash was found in Mr Creswell’s property while £11,900 and 885 euros were discovered in Mr Williamson’s house. The money has been forfeited.
Mr Williamson was jailed for 18 months and Mr Creswell for 12 months at Lincoln Crown Court last week (3 October 2018), having previously admitted guilt at the same court.
HMRC has now begun proceedings to reclaim the stolen tax.
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