Online VAT evader sentenced to 20 months

A 40-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for 20 months for attempting to evade more than £420,000 of VAT through goods sold online.

Gregory Allnut’s home was raided in June 2011 by HM Revenue & Customs officers. They found evidence he had been using a VAT registration number to obtain zero-rated goods from suppliers within the European Union and then sold them through another online company without declaring the tax.

Allnut (pictured), from south east London, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud on 1 November and was sentenced yesterday at Southwark Criminal Court.

HMRC will launch its campaign to target users of online marketplaces in early 2012.

Mhairi Urquhart, senior lawyer in the CPS Central Fraud Group, said: “Gregory Allnutt knew he was liable to pay VAT when he set up as a retailer of nutritional products. He soon worked out that he could make a lot more money selling electrical goods through ebay and, despite knowing that he was still liable to pay VAT when he did this, he instead pocketed £429,337 that was due to HMRC.”

Chris Martin, HMRC’s assistant director of criminal investigation, said: “Allnutt thought that by trading online he could avoid paying his taxes, but he has discovered that isn’t the case. Our successful investigation and [yesterday’s] sentencing send a clear message to others involved in such crime that our investigators will identify and pursue you.”

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