Tax cheat contractor escapes jail
A Belfast-based contractor who orchestrated a £230,000 construction industry tax fraud escaped jail after receiving a suspended sentence.
Belfast Crown Court heard how Gary Burns, 35, supplied undeclared workers to building sites before invoicing contractors to make it look as if he had carried out the work himself, receiving gross payments into his bank account.
He then paid his workers cash-in-hand without deductions for income tax of National Insurance.
Burns, of New Lodge Road, Belfast, pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT and failing to pay income tax and Class 4 National Insurance contributions.
He received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for three years.
Steve Tracey, assistant director for the fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: "Burns gave dishonest subcontractors an unfair advantage over other honest competitors and failed to pay the tax liabilities due.
"He knowingly deprived public services of vital funding and now has a criminal record for tax fraud."