Jail term for VAT-evading recruitment agency boss

The boss of two recruitment agencies who failed to pay over more than £470,000 VAT and spent it on houses and a luxury holiday home, has been jailed for 27 months following an HMRC investigation

Shaun Clark ran Maxim Healthcare Ltd and Iron Bridge (Yorkshire) Ltd from the same address on Bond Street, in Wakefield, and pocketed £470,867 which should have been paid to HMRC between May 2014 and July 2016.

Clark, who was disqualified from running a business for five years in 2009, used money from the fraud to buy two houses and a luxury holiday lodge in Cleethorpes. He also spent around £30,000 leasing luxury cars.

HMRC began looking into Clark’s tax affairs when he applied to register another company for VAT at the same address.

Investigators found Iron Bridge (Yorkshire) Ltd charged customers VAT but never submitted a VAT return, and occasionally used company details of Maxim Healthcare Ltd on invoices.

Officers also found Maxim Healthcare Ltd continued to charge customers VAT despite not submitting a VAT return since April 2014.

Clark admitted VAT fraud at Leeds Crown Court, and also admitted running a business whilst disqualified.

He was sentenced to 27 months in prison and banned from being a company director for eight years. Proceedings are now underway to recover the stolen money.

Clark Sandra Smith, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: ‘Clark deliberately stole money which should be used to fund our public services, to fund a lifestyle beyond his means. He pocketed enough money to pay the salaries for 21 newly qualified nurses for a year.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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