A gardener was jailed for a £423,000 fraud after submitting false VAT returns.
Richard Phillips Honan, 59, fraudulently reclaimed the money by submitting false VAT returns supported by fake invoices. The money he obtained was used to pay off two mortgages and other debts, with the remainder going towards personal costs and the running of his gardening business.
Honan, from Llannefydd, Denbigh, runs Landscape Gardening and Holiday Letting which was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
During questioning, he admitted he had created the false paperwork, and regularly cancelled visits proposed by HMRC VAT officers in case his fraud was discovered.
He explained he had trained earlier in his career as an accountant, but said that he had started his gardening business when he realised the profession did not suit him.
Bob Gaiger, from HMRC, said: “Richard Honan had the skills to commit a VAT fraud that gave him a huge advantage over honest businesses and law-abiding taxpayers. It is simply not fair to rip off those of us who pay what is due, when it is due. For that reason we are investing more resources than ever into investigating fraudsters. Anyone tempted to commit fraud should be warned – we will find you.”
Honan admitted VAT fraud at a previous hearing and appeared at Manchester Crown Court on 22 October for sentencing. He was jailed for two years.