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The fraud, the bookkeeper and the wardrobe

Press release   •   Jun 13, 2014 15:21 BST

A Dungannon woman at the centre of a £140,000 VAT fraud, who hid in her bedroom wardrobe to avoid arrest, has been jailed after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Donna Magee (44) from Hollyfields, Dungannon, was arrested by HMRC in February 2012, as officers investigated her fictitious business and fraudulent VAT repayments for the construction of non-existent new business premises. When officers raided her address Magee was found hiding in a wardrobe in an attempt to avoid arrest.

Officers also uncovered false VAT invoices, bank statements and computer records that Magee had used to reclaim VAT amounting to £140,749, relating to costs she had never incurred.

Mike Parkinson, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“As a book-keeper Magee knew full well she was breaking the law, yet chose to overlook it for the opportunity of what she wrongly assumed would be easy money, at the expense of the taxpayer. She manipulated a system that exists for the benefit of legitimate companies with the sole purpose of lining her own pockets.

“This investigation shows that tax fraudsters have no place to hide and we will not stop in our pursuit of those involved in this type of criminal activity.”

Magee appeared at Dungannon Crown Court today and was sentenced to nine months in prison and nine months on licence.

Notes for editors
1. Donna Magee, DOB 21/12/1969, of Hollyfields, Dungannon, pleaded guilty to nine counts of dishonestly making false representation with the intention of making a gain in relation to VAT repayment claims under the Fraud Act.

2. Anyone with information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud can contact HMRC through the Tax Evasion hotline on 0800 788 887 or at

3. Follow us on Twitter @hmrcgovuk.

4. HMRC’s Flickr channel

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.