Accountant jailed for £95,000 VAT fraud

AN ACCOUNTANT FROM NORTH DEVON has been jailed for a £95,000 VAT fraud.

Robert Leonard Carpenter pleaded guilty after he was caught when HMRC became suspicious of his VAT repayments and requested his invoices. He later admitted that much of the expenditure had not been made. He also claimed that a number of invoices had been accidentally destroyed, when actually they had never existed.

Carpenter was the sole director of Voicethrower, set up to market the hands-free megaphone he developed, and traded as accountancy services.

Between 2007 and 2012, he submitted fraudulent VAT repayment claims which totalled £95,030. He was repaid £78,583 by HMRC.

Assistant director of criminal investigations at HMRC, Colin Spinks, said: “Carpenter is an accountant in a position of trust, well aware that he was breaking the law. He chose to overlook it for the opportunity of making what he wrongly assumed would be easy money, at the expense of UK taxpayers.”

Carpenter was charged with two counts of fraud in December 2013 and sentenced to 12 months in jail at Exeter Crown Court on Monday 16 June. He also received a disqualification from being a company director for six years.

Judge Gilbert QC said: “This was not fraudulent from the outset but was carried out over a long period of time. You are an accountant and these offences involved fraudulent VAT returns which were professionally planned for your own benefit over four and a half years.”

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