And finally…Man jailed over £200,000 VAT fraud using non-existent farm

Cow WantedA man from Northern Ireland has been jailed after he claimed more than £200,000 in VAT refund cash even though he didn’t even own a farm.

Thomas McKay, 31, from Banbridge in County Down, was prosecuted after a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation found he created false invoices for a non-existent farming business to reclaim VAT he was not entitled to.

HMRC investigators obtained witness statements from 24 businesses that McKay claimed he had traded with.

These confirmed that the invoices were false and McKay had not traded with any of them.

Mike Parkinson, HMRC assistant director, criminal investigation, said: “McKay deliberately set out to create a false paper trail so that he could claim money that he was not entitled to. Although he didn’t own a farm he registered a farming business to manipulate a system that exists for the benefit of legitimate companies with the sole purpose of lining his own pockets.

“He knew he was breaking the law, yet chose to overlook it for the opportunity of making what he wrongly assumed would be easy money, at the expense of the taxpayer.”

McKay, who was sentenced at Newry Crown Court on Wednesday was jailed for 10 months.

A confiscation hearing to recover the proceeds of his crime will follow.