Belfast Telegraph

Newry businessman Linden guilty of £160k tax fraud

A Poyntzpass businessman who stole £160,000 through a VAT fraud has been handed a suspended sentence.

Between January 2010 and September 2012, James Henry Joseph Linden (38), the company secretary of Linden Agri Ltd, admitted using his UK VAT registration number to purchase goods. He defrauded suppliers by making cheque payments which he did not honour.

He also used his registration number to import farming supplies VAT free from the Republic. He sold these within the UK, charging his customers VAT but failed to pass it on to HM Revenue and Customs, pocketing more than £160,000.

Linden was given concurrent 20-month prison sentences for each offence, suspended for three years, at Newry Crown Court on Wednesday, and ordered to pay £64,000 in compensation to the four businesses he defrauded.

He was also banned from being a company director for three years. A nominal £1 confiscation order was also obtained with an agreed benefit of £156,000.

Steve Tracey, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:“When we pay tax, we expect it to go towards paying for vital public services, not to line the pockets of unscrupulous traders. Linden knew he was breaking the law but thought he could get away with ripping off honest taxpayers.

"HMRC is levelling the playing field for honest businesses, investing more time and effort than ever into tracking down those who attempt to rip off public services to line their own pockets.

“Tax fraud is a serious crime and I ask anyone with information about those who may be involved to contact the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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