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Internet trader jailed for VAT fraud

A 40 year old man has been jailed for attempting to evade over ?420,000 of Value Added Tax (VAT) due on goods sold online.

Gregory Allnutt from south east London was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court after an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Chris Martin, HMRC?s Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation said: ?Allnutt thought that by trading online he could avoid paying his taxes, but he has discovered that isn?t the case. Our successful investigation and today?s sentencing send a clear message to others involved in such crime that our investigators will identify and pursue you.

?Tax fraud costs millions of pounds in lost revenue in the UK each year, money that could be used to fund vital public services. Anyone with information about this type of crime, should call the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email customs.hotline@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.?

Allnutt?s home was raided by HMRC officers in June 2011. Evidence uncovered proved that from 1 September 2007 Allnutt used a VAT registration number to obtain zero rated goods from suppliers within the EU & then sold them on through another online company, failing to declare and pay the tax to HMRC.

Allnutt pleaded guilty to twelve counts of fraud on 1 November 2011 and was sentenced today.

In early 2012, HMRC will be launching a Campaign focused on those who are using e-marketplaces to buy and sell goods as a trade or business and who fail to pay the tax owed. Using the same techniques and sources employed to discover Allnutt?s trading activity, as well as others, HMRC has already begun the process of gathering what it needs to identify individuals and companies involved in this type of trade. Anyone who knows this applies to them should come forward and let HMRC know now http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ris/hmrc-campaigns.htm.

Mhairi Urquhart, Senior Lawyer in the CPS Central Fraud Group said:

?Gregory Allnutt knew he was liable to pay VAT when he set up as a retailer of nutritional products. He soon worked out that he could make a lot more money selling electrical goods through ebay, and despite knowing that he was still liable to pay VAT when he did this, he instead pocketed ?429,337 that was due to HMRC.

?As a result of the efficient investigation and prosecution of this case, Allnutt pleaded guilty to all 12 charges of fraudulent evasion of tax, pleas which meant he recognised the strength of the case against him.?

Confiscation proceedings are in place.

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
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Other news articles:
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