South Yorkshire businessman gets three years for £1m tax fraud

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A SOUTH Yorkshire businessman who used £1 million he should have given to the taxman to bail out his business has been jailed for three years.

Gwynn Williams, aged 61, invested cash he should have declared to the Inland Revenue in a range of projects including a goldmine in Utah, USA, a Singapore fish farm, a US hedge-fund and a company supplying generators to Iraq.

Williams who was the director of Hallmark Blades which traded in surgical equipment, told tax officials he was anticipating huge financial returns and wanted to clear his conscience by repaying the VAT he stole.

HMRC assistant director for criminal investigation Peter Hollier said: “This was a prolonged and brazen attack on the UK tax system. 
“Gwynn Williams seemed to think he could use taxpayers’ money to finance him through hard times and then expected to confess all, repay the money and walk away with a clear conscience. 
“Tax fraud is a criminal offence and Williams is now paying the price for basing his business activity on fraud.”

When officers arrived to interview Williams he presented them with a confession and a schedule of the false VAT refund claims, totalling around £1 million.

At the fraud’s peak, Williams was claiming almost £30,000 a month, which he used to fund ‘bigger business deals’ but he claimed he started feeling guilty and wanted to confess so he could repay the money he’d stolen and clear his conscience.

Williams, of Steven Crescent, Chapeltown, Sheffield, admitted faking transactions in order to submit VAT refund claims through his business, but became worried after HMRC contacted him to arrange a VAT inspection.

He confessed he had delayed the visit numerous times and tried to scale down his claims in order to avoid detection.

He was arrested by HMRC officers in September 2011 and later charged with fraud.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison.

He was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years.