A FRAUDSTER from Droitwich who tried to steal more than £63,000 by submitting 18 false VAT claims has avoided jail.
Jayson Ledbury, 45, of Vines Lane, has been handed a suspended two-year prison sentence.
Ledbury submitted the bogus VAT repayment claims between 2012 and 2016 for various businesses, including his tool hire company.
He then provided 29 false invoices in a bid to support the fraudulent claims and cover his tracks.
He was caught following an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation.
Nick Stone, assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “People like Ledbury think they can use the VAT repayment system like a personal cashpoint.
“He stole money from other taxpayers, gained an unfair advantage over competitors and when the net closed in, he tried to cover his tracks with bogus invoices.
“This case should serve as a severe warning to anyone who thinks they can get away with tax fraud that you will face justice for stealing from other taxpayers and depriving public services of vital funding.”
HMRC paid out £57,366 of Ledbury’s VAT repayment claims, but withheld the remaining £6,378 after launching an investigation.
Ledbury pleaded guilty to VAT fraud.
He was sentenced to two years prison, suspended for two years, at Worcester Crown Court yesterday.
Action is now being taken to revcover the stolen cash.
Anyone with information about people or businesses involved in any type of tax fraud can report it online at https://www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business, or call HMRC’s Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.