HM Revenue Customs confirms first arrest in connection with furlough fraud

Westonzoyland man jailed for fraud

THE former treasurer of Westonzoyland Sports Pavilion has been jailed for 12 months for the fraudulent evasion of VAT.

Peter Graeme Male, 63, of Grays Avenue, Westonzoyland, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court today following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.

The court was told that Male, who was also a former director of a Somerset accountancy firm, submitted fraudulent VAT returns to claim £247,760 in VAT repayments that he and the sports pavilion were not entitled to. The crimes were committed between June 2013 and October 2019.

The court heard that Male submitted false VAT repayment claims for non-existent renovation work at the sports venue without others knowing.

He created false invoices and bank statements to support his illegal claims and used some of the money to pay for dental treatment.

Judge Julian Lambert told Male: “The fraud was hardly sophisticated.

“You are respected and admired by many people in the community. This was utterly out of character.

“You made a terrible error and it comes as a considerable cost to you.”

At North Somerset Magistrates Court, on February 24, Male had pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT.

HMRC will recover the fraudulently claimed VAT through Proceeds of Crime procedures.

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