Shop owner jailed over £960k tax fraud

A shopkeeper who owned several stores selling Formula 1 merchandise has been jailed for four years after he fraudulently claimed over £960,000 in tax repayments to keep his businesses afloat

Peter Davis, owner of Formula 1 Teamwear Ltd, had shops in shopping centres in Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff and West London, along with two smaller shops in Brighton and a website. To keep these businesses afloat he submitted 17 fraudulent VAT returns to HMRC between 2009 and 2013, falsely claiming repayments of £961,3017.

HMRC discovered that Davis received subsidies from the shopping centres to fit out the shops but his outlets all failed, leaving rent and rates unpaid and some customers of his website without the goods they had paid for.

Davis also ran an Italian restaurant in London where he failed to declare half of his sales and falsely claimed £58,507 in four VAT claims.

He pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT and was jailed for four years at Southwark Crown Court. He was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years.

On sentencing, His Honour Judge Michael Hopmeier told Davis: ‘These were serious, sophisticated frauds carried out over a long period of time, by deliberate dishonesty and virtually from the start of trading.’

Report by Amy Austin

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