Jail for VAT fraudster who hid in wardrobe

A woman from Northern Ireland who hid in her bedroom wardrobe when HMRC called at her home to look into her business dealings has been jailed for a £140,000 VAT fraud

Donna Magee from Dungannon was arrested by HMRC in February 2012, as officers investigated her fictitious business and fraudulent VAT repayments for the construction of non-existent new business premises.

When officers raided her address Magee was found hiding in a wardrobe.

Officers also uncovered false VAT invoices, bank statements and computer records that Magee had used to reclaim VAT amounting to £140,749, relating to costs she had never incurred.

Mike Parkinson, HMRC assistant director, criminal investigation, said: ‘As a book-keeper Magee knew full well she was breaking the law, yet chose to overlook it for the opportunity of what she wrongly assumed would be easy money, at the expense of the taxpayer. She manipulated a system that exists for the benefit of legitimate companies with the sole purpose of lining her own pockets.’

In court, Magee pleaded guilty to nine counts of dishonestly making false representation with the intention of making a gain in relation to VAT repayment claims under the Fraud Act. She has been sentenced to nine months in prison and nine months on licence.

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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