Three company directors, who fraudulently claimed almost ?220,000 in VAT repayments by pretending to sell a Bloomsbury hotel they didn’t own, have been sentenced.
Robin Reichelt, Stephen Nathan and John Gibbs claimed to have sold the hotel from one of their companies to another, but HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigators uncovered false invoices and a fictitious credit note used to fake the VAT repayment claim.
In 2005 Stephen Nathan raised an invoice from his company Pure Energy & Power PLC for the sale of a lease on a hotel in Bloomsbury, London that it did not own.
This fraudulent invoice included VAT. Reichelt and Gibbs, his two fellow defendants, falsely claimed to have bought the hotel through their company A2Z Properties Ltd, and then proceeded to claim back the £218,750 VAT from the fictitious transaction.
All three men were charged on 11 January 2010 with conspiracy to cheat the Public Revenue. Nathan and Reichelt were found guilty on 7 July 2011 at Southampton Crown Court.
Nathan was sentenced to four years and five months in prison and disqualified from acting as a director for 15 years.
Reichelt was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail and disqualified from being a director for 10 years.
Gibbs a was sentenced to a one year suspended jail sentence. He was also given a six month supervision order, 200 hours community service and disqualified from becoming a director for 10 years.
A business in Berkshire is putting its plans to expand on hold because of the so-called "pasty tax" . Auntie Anne's sells freshly baked pretzels. The government may introduce VAT on hot takeaway food which could cost customers £900,000 a year.
Robert Burton the Managing Director says it will have a real impact on sales.
HMRC have released a statement after successfully prosecuting a Dorset yacht broker for VAT fraud. James Williams was sentenced to three years imprisonment for false accounting and cheating the public revenue.
Williams used his position as director of a yacht brokers to commit VAT fraud. He sold boats which had previously been supplied VAT-free for export to the Channel Islands, but failed to account for the VAT on their subsequent sale in the UK. This blatant attack on the tax system not only robbed the Exchequer of public funds, but is also unfair to those businesses that diligently abide by the rules. Tackling VAT fraud is a priority for us and we will not hesitate to pursue those who commit this type of offence.
– John Cooper, HMRC Assistant Director Criminal Investigation