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Building director jailed over £1m VAT fraud
THE director of three Dorset building companies has been jailed for 18 months for fraud offences involving more than £1 million.
Bournemouth Crown Court heard how Stuart Cleveland Price, 48, from Dewlands Common, Verwood, had faked invoices to reclaim VAT.
Based on his repayment claims, HM Revenue and Customs investigators were expecting to find invoices for more than £9 million when only a fraction appeared in his trading records.
The fraud ended after customs officers raided Price’s home and business address in June 2011 and removed his business records. They found that Price had traded for a number of years before he started to submit fraudulent VAT repayment claims.
Price pleaded guilty to three counts of VAT fraud between October 2007 and June 2001 involving ECO Homes Constructions Ltd, formerly based in Wimborne as well as The Steel Frame Company Ltd and SIPS ECO Panels Direct Ltd, both based at Hamworthy, Poole.
The HMRC’s assistant director of criminal investigation John Cooper said: “Price committed fraud over a number of years deceiving not only HMRC, but also the thousands of businesses who operate honesty and within the law.
“When he was asked for documentation to support the repayment claims, he produced bank statements that had been doctored with amounts that did not add up.
“He also provided invoices that had genuine headings but where the details were false. HMRC thoroughly investigates suspected tax fraud and clamps down on those who cheat the system.”
Anyone can report a fraud by calling the 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.