Beef farmers jailed over £610k VAT fraud

A farmer and his wife have been jailed for their role in a £610,000 VAT fraud, following an HMRC investigation into their County Armagh beef cattle farm

Joseph Cassidy was a VAT registered beef farmer from January 1995. He and his wife Anna Cassidy, who was responsible for the farm’s business records, were arrested in February 2016 on suspicion of VAT fraud and money laundering offences.

The premises and the adjoining farmyard were searched by HMRC officers and business records were seized.

HMRC investigators established that Anna Cassidy held two bank accounts: a business account into which the VAT repayments were paid and a savings account in her name.

Further investigation found that between July 2011 and March 2015, Joseph Cassidy made fraudulent VAT claims totalling £610,000.

Both Anna and Joseph Cassidy pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT and money laundering offences.

At Newry Crown Court Joseph Cassidy was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, and Anna Cassidy was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment.

The judge ruled that each will spend half of their sentence in jail and the rest on licence.

HMRC said confiscation proceedings are now underway to recover the tax.

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