A former civil servant, who had worked for the customs office in Northern Ireland, has been jailed for a £170,000 VAT fraud after an investigation by HMRC
At Dungannon crown court, Francis McGurk, a self-employed property maintenance contractor and a former employee of HM Customs and Excise (which was merged into HMRC in 2005) and the Court Service of Northern Ireland, was found to have dishonestly issued invoices using a de-registered VAT number.
Between August 2007 and January 2015 McGurk used the number to charge customers £171,149 in VAT, which he pocketed rather than passing on to HMRC.
Steve Tracey, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: ‘When we pay tax, we expect it to go towards paying for vital public services, not to line the pockets of unscrupulous traders. McGurk knew he was breaking the law, but thought he could get away with ripping off honest taxpayers.’
McGurk was sentenced to eight months in prison and eight months on licence.
Report by Pat Sweet