A fraudster who tried to claw back £51,000 in VAT claiming he ran a mobile phone company in Colindale has been given a suspended jail sentence today.
James Edoh told HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) he ran Foneneeds Communications Services in Varley Parade where in reality he was living in Ghana.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard the 44-year-old had not traded for two years when he submitted the claims from 2010 to 2012.
He initially ignored correspondence from HMRC before claiming his business partner had died and he wished to cancel his VAT registration.
He promised to produce his business records after attending the funeral in Ghana and was arrested on his return at Heathrow Airport on July 7 this year.
After investigators found hand written business records and invoices in his luggage, Edoh claimed that most of his original business records had been accidentally destroyed.
He said he had brought reconstructions and the surviving invoices to support of his VAT refund claims.
These were all found to be false.
He admitted two counts of fraud; fraud by false representation and making articles for use in connection with fraud and was sentenced to six months in jail suspended for two years.
Peter Milroy, HMRC’s assistant director of criminal investigation, said: “Edoh thought he was under our radar and could blatantly steal from the UK tax system for his own benefit. He was wrong and now has a criminal conviction.”