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Builder jailed for £1m VAT fraud

Press Release   •   Feb 26, 2013 10:02 GMT

The director of three Dorset building companies who made fake VAT repayment claims of over £1 million has been jailed for the fraud.

An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) discovered that Stuart Cleveland Price, 48, from Verwood in Dorset, had faked invoices to reclaim VAT he wasn’t entitled to. Based on his repayment claims, HMRC investigators were expecting to find invoices for over £9 million when in fact only a fraction of this appeared in his trading records.

John Cooper Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation, HMRC

“Price committed fraud over a number of years deceiving not only HMRC, but also the thousands of businesses who operate honestly and within the law.

“When he was asked for documentation to support the repayment claims, he produced bank statements that had been doctored with amounts that did not add up. He also provided invoices that had genuine headings but where the details were false.

“HMRC thoroughly investigates suspected tax fraud, and clamps down on those who cheat the system. Anyone can report a fraud by calling the 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

The fraud was stopped after HMRC officers raided Price’s home and business address in June 2011 and removed his business records. They found that Price had traded for a number of years before he started to submit fraudulent VAT repayment claims that his companies were not entitled to.

Stuart Cleveland Price was charged with three VAT fraud offences on 27 September 2012. He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on 22 February 2013 to 18 months in prison.

HMRC will be seeking to recover the monies stolen in a confiscation hearing.

Notes to Editors

1. Stuart Cleveland Price (DOB 24.04.64) of Dewlands Common, Verwood, Dorset.

2. Price pleaded guilty to three counts of VAT fraud on 7 January 2013; the offences took place between October 2007 and June 2011.

3. The companies were ECO Homes Constructions Limited, formerly based in Wimborne, Dorset, The Steel Frame Company Limited and SIPS ECO Panels Direct Limited, both based at Allens Lane, Hamsworthy, Poole, Dorset.

4. HMRC’s flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk

5. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

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.