A North East engineering company boss has been jailed for more than eight years for a £5.9 million tax fraud.
Stanley Miller, of South Grange, Lane Head, Ryton, stole millions of pounds by pocketing his staff’s tax deductions and using phoney invoices to claim VAT repayments, an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed.
The 57-year-old pocketed £5,952,339.57 in VAT, Income Tax and National Insurance between May 2008 and May 2016.
He stole the money through his three companies; MGM Precision Limited, T-Tec (Precision Engineers) Limited and SLM Engineering Ltd; in Newburn, Newcastle.
Daniel McDonald, 33, of Dukes Meadow, Newcastle upon Tyne, worked for all three companies and helped Miller steal the money.
Cheryl Burr, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC said:
“This was a shocking and sustained attack on the tax system. Miller abused his position to steal money from the public purse and his employees. He was wrong to think he could get away with it and now he is paying the price behind bars.
“We will continue to pursue criminals like Miller and the people who help them. The money they stole was equivalent to the salaries of 292 new Northumbria police officers for a year. I encourage anyone with information on this type of fraud to contact HMRC online or our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
The fraud was uncovered following a routine VAT visit to SLM in April 2016 when officers were shown various invoices; but later checks revealed they were fake.
Investigators found Miller had forged invoices and submitted false VAT returns to fraudulently reclaim £1,055,294.51 for all three of his companies.
It was also discovered Miller pocketed £4,897,045.06 Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions from MGM employees instead of passing it to HMRC.
Miller was convicted of cheating the public revenue and VAT fraud at Newcastle Crown Court on 30 October 2018. He was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison, and was disqualified from being a company director for nine years, at the same court on 1 February 2019.
McDonald provided Miller with invoice templates which were subsequently altered and used to support false VAT repayment claims. He was also convicted of cheating the public revenue and VAT fraud, and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Proceedings are underway to recover the stolen money.