Reduced sentence for construction boss fraudster

A construction boss who stole more than £500,000 in a tax fraud linked to a fake building project in Iraq has had his jail sentence cut by 18 months.

Judges in the Court of Appeal ruled that Mark McAteer's prison term should be reduced from four years to two-and-a-half years.

The 30-year-old, formerly of Gortnarney Road, Limavady, Co Derry, will also serve a further 12 months on probation.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: "Although the offence was dominated by greed, it's not an offence that could be said in this particular case to be professionally planned."

McAteer was jailed earlier this year for VAT fraud carried out in 2009.

Ruling on the appeal, Sir Declan said the fraud, involving McAteer's own company, was always going to be detected.

Balancing the need for a deterrent sentence against the benefits of probation for McAteer, the court held that the new term could be imposed.

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