Construction chief jailed for £350,000 tax fraud
A director of a Hampshire construction company has been jailed for tax fraud worth more than £350,000.
Accountant Stephen Love was a director of construction company J B A Martin, in Aldershot, and of Wessex Accountants, which looked after the building firm’s books.
Love failed to pay a total of £358,283 in VAT to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and was given a prison sentence of two years and three months.
Love, from Somerset, admitted in court that he had pocketed the VAT he charged his clients and used the money as cash flow for his business.
He admitted fraudulent evasion of VAT between 1 January 2011 and 31 March 2015 when he appeared at Yeovil Magistrates’ Court on 12 July this year.
He was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court on Friday 4 August.
Richard Wilkinson, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “Stephen Love kept the VAT he charged his customers. As an accountant he should have known better, but he abused the position of trust his profession put him in to steal the money that should have been funding public services.
“Tax fraud will not be tolerated. HMRC is working to create a level playing field for legitimate local businesses who cannot compete with their criminal competitors.”
During sentencing, Judge David Ticehurst told Love: “You knew what you were doing as a fully trained accountant.
“This was a serious offence and the criminal act has an impact on your family.”