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Birmingham man jailed for VAT fraud

Press Release   •   Aug 09, 2013 17:04 BST

A Birmingham man who stole £133,500 by charging his customers VAT but not passing it on to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been jailed for 20 months in prison today.

Christopher Prime (55) was a director of Eurobrew, which provided a specialist maintenance service to breweries around the UK, including in Dudley, Hereford and Peterborough. Prime did not register for VAT throughout his period of trading - April 2009 to July 2011, but sent invoices to customers showing an invalid VAT registration number. When the invoices were paid, Prime pocketed the VAT.

Adrian Farley, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:

“This fraud was all about enhancing Prime’s lifestyle, by stealing money from his customers that he claimed to be paying to HMRC. It is not acceptable to exploit the UK tax system and we will investigate those involved in this form of criminality, bringing them before the courts so that justice to be served.

”If you have any information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud, please contact our Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Notes for editors

Details of the defendant sentenced today 9 August 2013 at Birmingham Crown Court:

Christopher Prime (DOB 08.03.58) of Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

Prime was arrested on 14 September 2012 and later charged with VAT evasion under the VAT Act 1994.

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.