Mark Hogg and Nicolina Collins, who ran four pubs, made 16 VAT repayment claims in two-and-a-half years and told HMRC that the refunds were for refurbishments made to the pubs. However, the business partners handed over fake invoices when HMRC officers requested paperwork to validate their claims.
Hogg was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 275 hours of unpaid work. Nicolina Collings was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years and 250 hours of unpaid work.
John Cooper, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Hogg and Collings worked together to commit VAT fraud and steal taxpayers’ money. In a vain attempt to get themselves off the hook they produced false invoices but were naïve to think they could get away with it.
"Anyone with information about VAT fraud should contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
The fraud came to a total of £60,556, with £48,076 falsely claimed by Mark Hogg and £12,480 by Collings.
The pubs run by the pair were the Royal Swan in Blackwater, the Barley Mow in Alton, the Square Bar in Camberley and the Rising Sun in Reading.