GAA boss Gerald Moane is jailed for £766,000 VAT fraud
A leading Co Fermanagh GAA coach who claims he was under pressure from loyalist paramilitaries to defraud the Treasury of more than three-quarters of a million pounds in VAT has been jailed for a total 16 months.
However, Dungannon Crown Court Judge Gemma Loughran told 47-year-old father-of-six Gerald Moane that she could not accept or act on his allegations as they had never formed any part of his defence case.
The Brookeborough manager, from Teigeshill Road in Fivemiletown, admitted 21 counts of making the false returns in a six-year period for Moane Contracts Limited, and one charge of acquiring criminal property.
Judge Loughran said that despite the many glowing references, she would be failing in her duty to allow that to influence her unduly in sentencing him for what was clearly a fraud that showed a degree of professionalism, was a well-planned operation and fraudulent from the outset.
Moane submitted false invoices related to 31 businesses to claim VAT refunds.
He claimed that the invoices had been prepared by loyalist paramilitaries, and when paid, he was forced to hand over cash. However, this version of events was not accepted by the prosecution.
His crimes spanned a six-year period from February 2006 and July 2012, involving him making false VAT returns ranging from £17,875 to £132,150, with a total loss to the revenue of £766,000.
Judge Loughran said while confiscation proceedings have already begun in the case there was little likelihood of Moane being in a position to pay back any of the monies.
Moane had been in the running for the Co Fermanagh manager's job when Peter Canavan was appointed in 2012. He was also given 20 months on licence.