A Berkshire couple, who ran a high-class chauffeuring service, have been sentenced for VAT fraud after an investigation revealed they had submitted fake invoices to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Tracey and Allan Bradshaw, who ran four businesses including Business Drive Ltd, providing car services for a variety of UK film studios, failed to pay HMRC almost £31,000 in VAT they had charged their clients. The pair also submitted fraudulent VAT repayment claims of nearly £179,000 but were caught out when officers grew suspicious and began to look into their business records.
HMRC discovered that the pair had created fake invoices for leasing vehicles and general purchases including a giant water tank.
Anthony Swarbrick, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“The Bradshaws were business people driven by greed. They deliberately attempted to pocket almost £210,000 of taxpayers’ money and this case sends out a clear message to those who might be involved in this type of fraud: if you steal public money from honest, law-abiding people, you will face prosecution and pay the price for your criminal activities.
“We encourage anyone with information regarding suspected tax fraud to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
HMRC officers arrested the couple at their home in Bracknell on 18 December 2013 where they discovered the false documentation. Both pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT and were sentenced at Reading Crown Court.
Confiscation proceedings are now in place to reclaim any financial gain the Bradshaws obtained from committing this crime.
Notes for editors
1. Details of sentencing at Reading Crown Court on Friday 18 December 2015:
- Tracey Ann Bradshaw (DOB 30/06/1965) of Old Farm Drive, Bracknell, Berkshire, was sentenced to 28 months in prison.
- Allan David Bradshaw, (DOB 26/11/1966) of Old Farm Drive, Bracknell, Berkshire, was sentenced to 40 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.
2. The four businesses all registered to their home address were: Business Drive Ltd, Business Drive Vehicle Hire Ltd, Location Equipment Hire Ltd and Allan David Bradshaw (Sole Proprietor).
3. Anyone with information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud can contact our hotline on 0800 59 5000 or report it online at:https://www.gov.uk/topic/dealing-with-hmrc/tax-compliance
4. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
5. Photographs of the defendants are available on request or from HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/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.