The former owners of a Maidenhead motor dealership who illegally claimed an £86,000 VAT repayment have been sentenced.
A VAT fraud investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed that Charles Mogford and Julia Smith submitted a false purchase invoice to reclaim more VAT than was due.
Mogford and Smith were Company Directors of Auto Exporters UK Limited, which traded as Berkshire Land Rovers until July 2014. The pair submitted a VAT claim for the purchase of 31 Land Rovers, when in fact the real invoice was only for two vehicles.
The fraudulent invoice was dated 22 January 2010 and used to make a false VAT repayment claim the following month.
Anthony Swarbrick, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Mogford and Smith had traded legitimately, but greed led them to commit VAT fraud. Our message is clear - it is simply not acceptable to steal from the tax system and, ultimately, honest UK taxpayers.
“HMRC will continue to pursue those criminals who attack the tax system and we ask anyone with information about suspected VAT fraud to contact our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
On 30 June 2016 at Reading Crown Court Charles Mogford pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT (£86,118.99). A jury found Julia Smith guilty of the same offence on 4 July 2016. Charles Mogford was jailed for two years at Reading Crown Court on 30 August 2016. Julia Smith was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
The £86,000 has been repaid to HMRC.