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Judge jails 'patsy' over VAT swindle

A 25-year-old Belfast man who used money pocketed from a VAT scam to pay for an Audi car, holidays and drugs has been handed a 21-month prison sentence.

Sean Joseph Anthony Dornan, a father-of-one from Riverdale Park Drive in Belfast, was told by Judge Gordon Kerr QC that he will spend half the sentence in custody with the remainder of the term spent on supervised licence after he appeared in the dock of Belfast Crown Court.

Dornan, described in court as a "patsy", admitted three charges arising from a business being set up in his name which paid neither VAT nor staff income tax for a number of months in 2012 and 2013.

Dornan pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT amounting to £175,381.20 between July 6, 2012 and April 5, 2013; cheating the public revenue in unpaid tax from July 6, 2012 to June 5, 2013, and possessing criminal property totalling £72,770.22 over a period from September 28, 2012 and December 15, 2012. The court heard that on April 30, 2012 Dornan registered a construction business for VAT using his own name.

After the sub-contracting business was established, it was operated and secured jobs within the construction industry. However, over the period of offending the business didn't pay any VAT.

Crown prosecutor Mr McClean described Dornan as a "pasty" who was targeted by others not before the court due to his knowledge of the construction industry.

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