Scammer jailed after tax probe

A serial fraudster has been jailed for four years and nine months after repaying a tax fraud debt with money stolen in another scam

Duncan Johnson, from Oakham, admitted a £107,000 tax fraud in March 2016 which involved submitting fake VAT returns over a 17-month period from April 2013. He claimed to be trading with EU businesses outside the UK so no VAT was due but HMRC investigators discovered this was untrue and all his clients were in the UK.

Johnson paid back £87,000 to HMRC, with his promise to pay more of the stolen cash leading a judge to give him a six-month reprieve.

However, during that time, HMRC investigators examined Johnson’s finances and found a pattern of suspicious payments into his accounts.

They discovered Johnson was raising the money to pay the debt through a second scam. This saw £583,806 stolen from other businesses by taking online payments for an assortment of merchandise such as football flags and virtual reality goggles that were never dispatched.

Some of the proceeds of the fraud, which ran from March 2013 to December 2016, had been used by Johnson to pay his outstanding tax bill.

He admitted the second fraud at Leicester Crown Court and has now been sentenced to four years and nine months.

Confiscation proceedings to recover the stolen money have begun.

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