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Creative accountant jailed for stealing client's VAT payments

Press release -

Creative accountant jailed for stealing client's VAT payments

A Londonderry accountant, who stole over £55,000 in VAT payments from one of his own clients, has been jailed for 12 months after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

James Joseph Heaney, 45, collected VAT repayments from his client, falsified the VAT return paying a smaller amount to HMRC and pocketed the difference. Heaney kept over £55,000 in VAT repayments and used the money to buy a property. As part of the investigation HMRC officers also discovered that Heaney, who worked as an accountant in the city centre, had fraudulently claimed tax credits as a handyman receiving over £14,000 he was not entitled to.

Mike Parkinson, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Heaney was in a position of trust but chose to deliberately defraud his own client and cheat the taxpayer. He was a determined and cynical fraudster who, on this occasion, seems to have offered his professional services simply to access his clients’ money and fraudulently line his own pockets.

“The tax system pays for public services, and fraudsters like Heaney are breaking the law at the expense of all of us. Anyone with information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud can contact HMRC through the Tax Evasion hotline on 0800 788 887”

Notes for editors

1.James Joseph Heaney (DOB 02/10/1969) of Spruce Meadows, Londonderry, was sentenced at Londonderry Crown Court today (28 October 2015) to 12 months in jail on each count to run concurrently, six months custodial and six months on licence.

2.At earlier hearings in June and September, Heaney pleaded guilty to:

  • 3 counts of fraudulent evasion of VAT contrary to section 72 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994
  • 3 charges of fraud contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006
  • 3 forgery charges contrary to section 3 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981
  • 5 charges of theft contrary to section 1 of the Theft (NI) Act 1969
  • 3 offences contrary to section 327 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
  • 2 charges of Tax Credit fraud contrary to section 35 of the Tax Credits Act 2002

3.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 www.hmrc.gov.uk/reportingfraud/online.htm

4.HMRC’s Flickr channel: www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk

5.Follow HMRC's press office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice

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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.

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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.

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