Fraudulent operator’s prison sentence extended


A Birmingham haulier has been sent to prison for a second time for failing to pay back money he stole in a tax fraud.

Craig McDougall, 47, from Lindsworth Road, Kings Norton, was sentenced to four years in prison in July 2017 for evading income tax, national insurance and VAT by lying about the takings from his Wythall-based haulage business, following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court. At the same court in January this year McDougall was ordered to pay back £75,777 within three months, but he failed to repay any of the money and was sent to prison for a further 20 months on 14 November.

McDougall claimed his turnover during 2011 and 2013 was £649,058 but HMRC officers discovered that the actual figure was £830,000. The haulier also said his income was only £16,995 for those years, but he withdrew more than £235,000 which he could not account for.

He even claimed HMRC had lost his records but no paperwork was ever received. However, investigators were able to check McDougall’s bank records and found the huge discrepancies regarding his turnover and income.

The offences were committed between April 2011 and April 2014 and HMRC calculated the total fraud to be £161,175. He was found guilty of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax contrary to Section 106A of the Taxes Management Act (1970) and being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT contrary to Section 72(1) of the Value Added Tax Act (1994).

Debbie Porter, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: “This case proves crime doesn’t pay. McDougall’s original sentence has increased by nearly 50% and he will still owe the money when he is released from his extended period in prison.

“Our work does not end when fraudsters are jailed. We will always try to recover the proceeds of crime and ensure they are spent on our vital public services.”

Driver crushed by pallet in forklift incident

Health and Safety

Newport-based Freight Movement has been fined £84,000 after a driver was crushed by a full pallet when his truck was being unloaded.

Newport Magistrates’ Court heard how on, 5 May 2017, the employee of the company based on the Wern Industrial Estate, Rogerstone, was seriously injured when a pallet loaded with 920kg of cardboard packaging toppled from a forklift and landed on him. The driver suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found a lack of segregation between vehicles and pedestrians, inadequate safe waiting zones for drivers, lack of control over vehicle movements and an absence of safe walkways. The company failed to critically consider the main risks of its busy transport operation and ensure there was adequate control of transport risks at the site.

Freight Movement pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was also ordered to pay costs of £5,633.69. HSE inspector Sian Donne said: “This incident could have easily been prevented by simply reviewing the risks from transport and keeping transport and people apart.

"This is a reminder to all companies to take suitable action to control the risks from transport in their workplaces. HSE will take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”