A flooring company director from Essex, who attempted to steal almost £150,000 in a VAT fraud by fiddling his business records and using a fake VAT number, has been sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Lewes Crown Court.
Wayne Larry Poole, 44, was arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators in June 2013 during a search of his home. They found a second set of business records showing different sales figures to those on his VAT returns and £135,000 in cash hidden in an airing cupboard.
Further investigations revealed that Poole used a fake VAT registration number on his invoices to avoid paying the full amount of tax, but lied to officers claiming that it was just a clerical error. He also claimed that the cash in the airing cupboard was the winnings from gambling in London casinos. Investigations proved this was another lie.
David Margree, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Poole blatantly spun a web of lies in an attempt to hide the true extent of his fraud. He was greedy, using the money to line his own pockets and giving himself an unfair advantage over his competitors.
“He will now pay the price for his fraudulent activity - he will have a criminal record and we will seek to recover the profits Poole made from his crimes. If you know of anyone committing tax fraud please report them by calling our Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Further enquiries revealed that Poole also had another flooring business trading from an industrial estate in Stone in Staffordshire. He admitted not registering this business for VAT, claiming that it was an omission but not fraud.
Notes for Editors
- Wayne Larry Poole (DOB 06.11.71) of Hope Terrace, Mill Lane, Grays, Essex.
- Poole was sentence today 8 January 2016 at Lewes Crown Court to two years custodial, suspended for two years.
- Two businesses were based out of Thurrock Parkway Estate, Tilbury, Essex (one registered for VAT and the second unregistered), and one business in Stone, Staffordshire (unregistered but using a fake VAT Registration Number). There are no connections to the present business based at the address in Stone.
- The cash was seized under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and was ordered forfeit to HMRC on 13 October 2015 by the City of London Magistrates Court.
- The fraud took place from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012.
- Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
- HMRC's Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrc.gov.uk
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.