Nine months jail term for £194,000 VAT haulage fraudster

VAT


The boss of County Tyrone-based Lyons Haulage has been sent to prison for his role in a £194,000 VAT fraud, following an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation into his company.

Mark Lyons, 48, of Crevenagh Road, Omagh, ran the company with his wife, Janet, and between November 2011 and September 2014 they charged customers £194,063.61 in VAT but kept the money.

The HMRC investigation revealed that Mark, who pleaded guilty at a hearing in May 2017 to cheating the public revenue contrary to common law, played a central role in the fraud.

He was sentenced to nine months in prison and nine months on licence, when he appeared at Dungannon Crown Court on 19 September. Janet, 49, admitted the same offence and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for three years at Dungannon Crown Court in June 2017.

She was also banned from being a company director for five years. She had also pleaded guilty at the hearing in May 2017 to cheating the public revenue contrary to common law.

HMRC Fraud Investigation Service Assistant director Steve Tracey said: “The Lyons’ stole from the taxpayer and thought they could simply pocket the money, which should have been funding vital public services. They were wrong and now are paying the price with a prison sentence and criminal records.

“Most people pay the tax they owe, when they owe it, but a small minority think they are above the law. No matter how well you think you’ve covered your tracks, nobody is beyond our reach.” Confiscation proceedings are underway to recover the stolen tax.