01 Oct Welsh meat wholesaler jailed for VAT fraud
Lindsey Stoneham, 53, of Bridgend, Wales has been jailed for three-and-a-half years following an HMRC investigation. Stoneham, a meat wholesaler faked invoices and falsified business records to claim £428,000 in VAT repayments
The fraud was discovered when an HMRC VAT officer became suspicious about Stoneham’s monthly VAT returns and referred the case for criminal investigation. He was originally arrested by HMRC investigators at his business premises in October 2013, and his home was also searched.
Investigators discovered that Stoneham would ask firms for written quotes and then manipulated the documents to verify the false payments on his VAT returns. Some of the fraudulent invoices related to the construction of buildings that did not exist, and included £400,000 for constructing agricultural units and £250,000 for the purchase of mobile refrigeration units.
Stoneham spent a night in police cells after an arrest warrant was issued for failing to appear at Cardiff Crown Court earlier this year. He has now been jailed for three-and-a-half years and disqualified from being a company director for five years. HMRC will now seek to recover the proceeds of his crimes.
Colin Spinks, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
'Lindsey Stoneham set out to create a false paper trail to claim money he wasn’t entitled to, but he finally faced up to his crimes and pleaded guilty to VAT fraud after initially failing to attend court. We will continue to carry out detailed investigations to bring fraudsters like Stoneham to justice.'