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Payroll company director counting his way to jail

Press Release   •   Aug 06, 2015 14:02 BST

The director of three payroll and book-keeping companies who stole over £250,000 to keep his business afloat by pocketing his employees’ tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and failing to pay VAT bills has been jailed for two years.

For nearly seven years, Andrew Bettis, 43, from Maldon in Essex used the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system to deduct Income Tax and NICs from his employees’ wages, but kept the money rather than pay it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Further investigations revealed that his VAT returns were also wrong and that he hadn’t paid employer NICs, instead using the money to buoy up his businesses.

Paul Barton, HMRC’s Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, said:

“Andrew Bettis worked in the payroll industry and knew full well he was acting fraudulently. However, he shamelesslyused his employees Tax and National Insurance to fund his businesses.Tax was deducted and shown on payslips but the money was never handed over to HMRC. He also failed to pay the right VAT, giving him an unfair advantage over his competitors and other honest businesses who pay what is due.

“This fraudulent and criminal behaviour is never acceptable and HMRC will work to bring to justice anyone involved in this type of criminality. Anyone with information about suspected fraud can contact the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Bettis was the director of three companies based in Chelmsford in Essex that offered book-keeping and payroll services to local businesses. When HMRC officers visited the businesses to check their records they found that a number of VAT and PAYE returns had not been completed or contained wrong information. The investigation that followed revealed that Bettis had deducted PAYE and NICs from his employees between 2007 and 2014, but hadn’t paid a penny to HMRC.

Andrew Bettis was arrested and later charged on 15/05/2015 with eight counts of fraud and acting dishonestly by not sending HMRC the correct VAT and PAYE returns. He pleaded guilty to all the offences and was sentenced today at Chelmsford Crown Court to two years in prison and disqualified from being a company director for eight years.

Upon sentencing Bettis, His Honour Judge Turner said: “you behaved in a shameful fashion and abused your position”.

Confiscation will be sought to recover the proceeds of his crimes.

Notes to Editors

  1. Andrew      BETTIS, (DOB 10/12/1971) of Saltcote Maltings, Heybridge Maldon in Essex.
  1. Bettis      was a director of Cheverhall Ltd, Cheverhall Limited and Cheverhall      Solutions Ltd based in Baddow Park, W      Hanningfield Rd, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex. He      also had a fourth business Cheverhall Accounting Services, which did not appear      to trade.
  1. The total VAT evaded      amounts to £196,851.63, PAYE to £32,203.60 and National Insurance to      £21,573.74.
  1. Bettis      was charged on 15 May 2015 with - knowingly concerned in fraudulent      evasion of VAT, Contrary to S72 (1) Value Added Tax Act 1994, Fraudulently      evading National Insurance contributions-      Contrary to S114 (1) Social Security Administration Act 1992 and Knowingly      concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax by self/another Contrary      to S106A Taxes Management Act 1970.
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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.