The owner of a London video conferencing company, who fled the country after faking documents and making up figures on his tax returns to steal £500,000, has been jailed for 45 months.
Stephen McKenzie, 49, was the sole director of ICU (Global) Ltd and inflated the value of his purchases and drew up false invoices to generate VAT repayments he wasn’t entitled to.
An HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation found McKenzie, from Middlesex, carried out the scam between October 2008 and March 2013 before closing down his business, selling his home and fleeing to Ireland, leaving a false address in America. But he was arrested by HMRC investigators after landing at Leeds Bradford Airport in July 2016, en-route to the Greek island of Zante.
Martin Brown, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
"As McKenzie found out, there is no hiding place for tax fraudsters. He manipulated the accounts of his business and drew up false invoices to steal taxpayers’ money. This is money that should have been paying for vital public services.
“HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously, and will take action where we find it to ensure no one is beyond our reach. I urge anyone with information about individuals or businesses involved in tax fraud to call our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
McKenzie admitted VAT fraud and was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail at Southwark Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 5 January 2017).
Confiscation proceedings are underway to recoup the proceeds of his crime.
Notes for editors
- Stephen McKenzie, DOB 20/05/67, Robin Hood Way, Greenford, Middlesex, admitted VAT fraud on Wednesday 30 November 2016 at Southwark Crown Court.
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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.