The actions of a serial fraudster, from Teigh, who repaid a tax fraud debt with money stolen in another scam, have been slammed by a judge as he jailed him for four years and nine months.
Duncan Johnson (57), of Main Street, was sentenced on Friday at Leicester Crown Court after handing himself in to police on April 1, two weeks after a warrant for his arrest was issued for failing to appear at his first scheduled court sentencing hearing.
Johnson admitted a £107,000 tax fraud but promised the judge that he’d repay the money, so sentencing had been postponed for six months.
But HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators discovered the defendant was raising the money to pay the debt through a second scam that involved stealing more than £500,000 from other businesses.
Jailing Johnson, Judge HHJ Dean QC told him he had acted in a ‘profoundly dishonest manner and that people had lost their jobs and their livelihoods as a result of his criminal activity’.
Johnson admitted the original tax fraud in March 2016 when a court heard he had orchestrated it by submitting fake VAT returns over a 17-month period from April 2013.
Johnson claimed to be trading with EU businesses outside the UK so no VAT was due but HMRC investigators discovered this was a lie and all his clients were in the UK.
He paid back £87,000 to HMRC after he pleaded guilty and a judge gave him a six-month reprieve to repay the rest.
But during that adjournment period, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators discovered Johnson was raising the money through a second scam that involved stealing more than £500,000 from other businesses.
They found a pattern of suspicious payments into his accounts and his web of lies unravelled as a second scam was discovered, which saw him steal £583,806 from other businesses by taking online payments for an assortment of merchandise such as football flags and virtual reality goggles that were never dispatched.
He admitted the second fraud at Leicester Crown Court on June 2018 and was finally sentenced on Friday.
Confiscation proceedings to recover the stolen money have begun.