Fisheries director netted in tax fraud investigation

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 totaling £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.