Stephen Crewdson, 46, from Manchester, was convicted of fraud and money laundering after charging Lancashire County Council for bogus construction work over five years
Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“As a council employee, Crewdson was in a privileged position approving supplier’s invoices. He abused this position of trust and was well aware that he was breaking the law. He made a deliberate attack on council funds at the expense of UK taxpayers.
“HMRC is committed to tackling fraud and abuse of the tax system wherever it occurs. If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud you can report them by calling our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Crewdson arranged for building suppliers to bill the council for work that never existed. Money paid to the builders was then laundered through various bank accounts back to Crewdson.
In 2011, when HMRC investigators began to check suspicious transactions, Crewdson created his own fake business, BBM, registered it for VAT via an accountant and attempted to justify further fake invoices and fraudulent VAT returns to disguise his crimes.
On 11 November 2016, at Preston Crown Court, Crewdson was jailed for seven and a half years.
His Honour Judge Knowles QC said as he jailed Crewdson:
“You have been convicted on most overwhelming evidence and your brazen lies. You were in breach of trust at LCC and of the public of Lancashire. You have used two local business, generated bogus invoices and tried to cover your tracks. The people of this county, taxpayers, are your victims and all to satisfy your greed.”
A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said:
"We are pleased with the verdict and that this matter has been resolved. The county council takes fraud extremely seriously and we have worked closely with the police and HMRC to help bring this successful prosecution."
Crewdson will now face legal action to recover the stolen money.