Mike East, formally known as Michael David Bull, 32, of Swallows Croft, Lichfield, submitted several suspicious VAT repayment claims to HMRC in 2013 and 2014, prompting an investigation.
Sentenced alongside East, Paula Wilkes, 39, a company director and Jake Hilton Reeves, 26, who allowed their companies to be named on fake invoices. Both were paid a cut of East’s stolen VAT for assisting with the tax fraud.
Richard Young, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“These three criminals were attempting to steal a substantial sum of money from taxpayers. East provided dozens of fake documents to convince HMRC he was genuinely trading under several guises - none of which was true. Wilkes and Reeves were fully involved in the fraud and took payments for their participation. HMRC is determined to clamp down on financial crime and make sure that there is a level playing field for all businesses.
“If you know of anyone committing tax fraud you can report them by calling our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000 and help us stamp it out.”
East was sentenced to 27 months jail at Birmingham Crown Court on 2 November 2016. HMRC officers uncovered a myriad of false documents and lies involving more than four businesses linked to him and the VAT repayment claims. The investigation revealed that he, and his two accomplices, had provided false invoices for goods and services that did not exist.