£73,000 VAT fraud builder avoids prison
A Belfast builder who pocketed £73,000 of illegal cash has been sentenced for fraud.
John McDowell (56) committed VAT fraud by pilfering the tax he had charged his customers but failed to pass on to the taxman.
McDowell, of St Judes Crescent, Belfast, was arrested by HM Revenue and Customs officials in July 2013 when investigations into his building company, Aspect Construction, revealed the fraud.
HMRC assistant director Mike Parkinson said: "McDowell knew he was breaking the law when he deliberately failed to pay his taxes. HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously and anyone deliberately choosing to evade the taxes they owe should expect not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well. Not passing the VAT you charge customers on to HMRC is illegal."
McDowell pleaded guilty on July 2, 2014 and was sentenced to 18 months suspended for two years.