Berkshire motor business VAT fraudsters sentenced
The former owners of a Maidenhead motor dealership who illegally claimed an £86,000 VAT repayment have been sentenced.
A VAT fraud investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed that Charles Mogford (53) and Julia Smith (51) submitted a false purchase invoice to reclaim more VAT than was due.
Mogford and Smith were Company Directors of Auto Exporters UK Limited, which traded as Berkshire Land Rovers until July 2014. The pair submitted a VAT claim for the purchase of 31 Land Rovers, when in fact the real invoice was only for two vehicles.
The fraudulent invoice was dated 22 January 2010 and used to make a false VAT repayment claim the following month.
Anthony Swarbrick, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Mogford and Smith had traded legitimately, but greed led them to commit VAT fraud. Our message is clear – it is simply not acceptable to steal from the tax system and, ultimately, honest UK taxpayers.
“HMRC will continue to pursue those criminals who attack the tax system and we ask anyone with information about suspected VAT fraud to contact our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
On 30 June 2016 at Reading Crown Court Charles Mogford pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT (£86,118.99). A jury found Julia Smith guilty of the same offence on 4 July 2016. Charles Mogford was jailed for two years at Reading Crown Court on 30 August 2016. Julia Smith was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
The £86,000 has been repaid to HMRC.
Upon sentencing Mogford, Her Honour Judge Cutts QC, said:
“You had the leading role in this offence.” Adding, she “believed that he had doctored the invoice.”
Notes for editors
- Charles Henry MOGFORD (DOB 26/11/62) of Switchback Road South, Maidenhead, Berkshire at the time of the fraud, now of Ray Mead Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire. A former Company Director of Auto Exporter UK Limited of Maidenhead.
- Julia Ann SMITH (DOB 14/04/65) of Henley Road, Hurley, Maidenhead, Berkshire at the time of the fraud, now of Primrose Hill, Widmer End, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. A former Company Director of Auto Exporter UK Limited of Maidenhead.
- Charles Mogford was jailed for two years and disqualified from holding any company directorships for ten years. Julia Smith was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. She was disqualified from holding any company directorships for eight years. Smith must also complete 180 hours of unpaid work.
- They were jointly charged with being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of Value Added Tax, contrary to Section 72(1) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994.
- The company now trading from Berkshire Land Rover’s former business premises in Stafferton Way, Berkshire, was not part of this investigation.
- VAT registered businesses charge VAT on the selling price of any goods and services that are liable to VAT. This is known as ‘output tax’ and must be paid to HMRC.Businesses pay VAT on their purchases and expenses, known as ‘input tax’. The difference between the output and input tax can be reclaimed from HMRC.
- Anyone with information about people or businesses possibly involved in VAT fraud can contact us on 0800 59 5000 or online at https://www.gov.uk/report-vat-fraud
- Follow HMRC’s Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice.