Ipswich fencing company director spared jail over £20,000 tax fiddle

Tax cheat spared jail

Tax cheat spared jail - Credit: PA

An Ipswich fencing company director has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting a £20,000 tax fraud.

Hamilton Paton, of Riverside Road, Ipswich, was sentenced by the town’s crown court to 20 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

The 57-year-old must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and was placed on a nine-month curfew between 7pm and 6am.

Paton, a director of Riverside Fencing Ltd, pleaded guilty to fiddling tax over a period spanning more than two years.

Paton admitted inventing invoices for a number of companies for use in a fraud, and producing a VAT return which was false.

The charges arose out of an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Officers discovered that between January 2012 and April 2014 produced five fraudulent invoices using the details of other unsuspecting companies.

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He also created three fraudulent receipts on which he had inflated the figures.

Paton was accused of getting logos from various companies and putting them on a Word document before filling out a number of details which were all false.

He also submitted three receipts, two of which were legitimate receipts from lumberjacks, but filled in the details which were false in order to claim back the VAT.

Paton passed the fraudulent paperwork on to his accountant and, as a result, reduced his VAT liability by a total of £20,430.63, which should have been paid in tax.

Following Paton’s sentencing, confiscation proceedings will begin against him to recover the proceeds of his criminal activity.

Paul Barton, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Paton planned his fraud and went to the lengths of drawing up fraudulent invoices and receipts to steal taxpayers’ money to which he was not entitled.

“This is money that should have been funding vital public services.

“HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously and I urge anyone with information about individuals or businesses involved in tax fraud to call our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.”