An accountant from London, who set up bogus businesses and used former clients’ details to try to steal more than £86,000 in tax repayments, has been jailed for 20 months.
Angelo Luca, 34, was arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in December 2014, after an investigation into his tax affairs revealed he had set himself up as a director of three businesses, including an Italian delicatessen and coffee shop – none of which ever traded.
In an attempt to persuade HMRC his businesses were real, Luca faked copies of a lease for premises near Putney railway station, invoices for catering equipment and architectural plans for the shop. He used these documents to support seven fraudulent VAT repayment claims totalling £69,087, between March 2013 and September 2014.
During the investigation, HMRC found that Luca had fraudulently used the details of some of his former clients to register himself as their authorised agent so he could submit false Income Tax Self-Assessment returns. This resulted in £17,263.46 being paid into his personal bank account. He used the proceeds from the fraud to send money to his family in Sicily, but after being caught he offered to repay what he had stolen.
Chris Gill, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“As an accountant Luca knew full well the seriousness of his criminal actions, but he thought by forging invoices and paperwork that he would he would be able to substantiate his claims.He stole money that should have been spent on vital public services, not to be used as his own personal nest egg. He is now paying the price with a criminal conviction and time behind bars.”
He was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment and ordered to pay £21,587 in compensation at Kingston Crown Court yesterday.
Notes for editors
- A photograph of the defendant is available on request or from HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
- Angelo Luca, (DOB 06.03.81) of Chapel Yard, Wandsworth, London SW18, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment when he appeared at Kingston Crown Court on 3 February 2016.
- He was charged with offences under the Fraud Act 2006 on 28 August 2015. The total value of the fraud is £86,351. Luca received £31,084, the rest was stopped by HMRC.
- Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.