‘De­vi­ous’ boss col­lected £97,000 from VAT fraud Busi­ness­man made bo­gus claims

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Andy Richard­son Staff Re­porter

ABUSINESSMAN who tried to steal more than £97,000 by sub­mit­ting a string of fraud­u­lent VAT claims has nar­rowly avoided spend­ing time be­hind bars.

Harinder­pal Singh Lo­tay, aged 39, of Macken­zie Road, Mose­ley, ran Tiger Blue Con­sul­tants Ltd when he was caught sub­mit­ting bo­gus VAT re­pay­ment claims be­tween 2010 and 2012, fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms (HMRC).

In­ves­ti­ga­tors found Lo­tay lodged the claims us­ing 55 false in­voices for three con­struc­tion com­pa­nies, all of which shared the same ab­bre­vi­ated name, of TBC.

One of the com­pa­nies, Tiger Blue Con­sul­tants Ltd, paid Lo­tay a mod­est monthly salary.

But, within hours of re­ceiv­ing a HMRC re­pay­ment in De­cem­ber 2012, Lo­tay handed him­self a bonus that bol­stered his monthly pay packet to more than £15,000.

HMRC paid out £38,902 of Lo­tay's VAT re­pay­ment claims, but withheld the re­main­ing £58,967 af­ter launch­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Lo­tay, who is un­em­ployed, re­paid all of the money he re­ceived ahead of sen­tenc­ing.

Judge Hen­der­son, sit­ting at Birm­ing­ham Crown Court, de­scribed him as “cun­ning and de­vi­ous” and handed him a two-year prison sen­tence, sus­pended for 15 months.

He was com­plete also 180 or­dered hours to of un­paid work and or­dered to pay £1,500 court costs.

Paul Fisher, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor, Fraud In­ves­ti­ga­tion Ser­vice, HMRC, said: “This was a dis­grace­ful at­tack on the VAT re­pay­ment sys­tem. Lo­tay stole money from other tax­pay­ers and used it to dra­mat­i­cally in­crease his own monthly salary by more than 20 times.

“This case should serve as a warn­ing to anyone who is tempted to abuse the VAT sys­tem that we are al­ways check­ing. We will pros­e­cute anyone who thinks they can steal money paid into the sys­tem by hon­est, hard­work­ing tax­pay­ers.

“VAT fraud is a se­ri­ous crime and I would ask anyone with in­for­ma­tion to re­port it to us on­line, or to con­tact our Fraud Hot­line on 0800 788 887.”

> VAT fraud­ster Harinder­pal Singh Lo­tay

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