A COUNTY Durham accountant, who tried to steal £73,000 in a VAT repayment fraud has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Jason Croan, 40, of Eastlea Crescent, Seaham, ran a company called TS Software Solutions Ltd and fraudulently claimed VAT repayments between September 2017 and September 2019.

An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed that no trading took place during this period and the 40-year-old used false invoices and lied about business purchases to pocket £50,544 in VAT repayments he was not entitled to. A further £22,485 was claimed but was withheld by HMRC.

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Croan admitted VAT fraud at Durham Crown Court on 07 October 2021.

He was sentenced to 21 months in prison, suspended for two years, and 80 hours unpaid work, at the same court on 3 March 2022.

Proceedings are underway to recover the stolen tax.

HMRC spokesperson said: “This was a deliberate attempt to steal thousands of taxpayers’ money which should be used to fund our vital public services.

“We will continue to pursue the small minority like Croan who commit tax fraud and steal money for their own benefit. We urge anyone with information about tax evasion to report it to HMRC online.”

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