Electrician jailed after VAT scam short-circuits

An Suffolk electrician has been jailed for 10 months for an £80,000 VAT fraud following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Steve Newman, 37, of Sudbury Suffolk, owner of electrical company SN Electricians, registered for VAT in 2006 but paid nothing to HMRC despite claiming £40,000 in repayments. He claimed business had been poor but when investigators looked at his records they showed he actually owed HMRC nearly £80,000.

Paul Barton, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigations at HMRC, said:

“Newman thought he could abuse the VAT system by submitting false VAT returns to generate repayments, and claiming that his business was not making any money. He 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 that 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 that 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.

Confiscation proceedings are now underway.