An engineer and his book-keeper stole nearly £85,000 in a VAT scam.
Water treatment expert Alfred Thomas Hall, 68, and David Gordon Lea, 60, pleaded guilty to fraudulently claiming VAT repayments they weren’t entitled to.
An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found that Hall, from Cardiff , had submitted 11 fraudulent VAT repayment claims before Lea began looking after his financial affairs in August 2012.
After that, the frequency and amounts claimed increased. In total, the pair made 21 fraudulent claims between July 2010 and August 2013.
The HMRC said that to support their fraud, the men produced fake invoices and Lea even went so far as to impersonate Hall, whose job took him all over the world, when enquiring about the repayments.
Hall and Lea blamed each other for the crime, but the investigation showed that the pair shared the cash, with exactly half the money paid into Lea’s bank account on the same day as each repayment was processed. The fraud amounted to £84.063.02 in total.
Lea and Hall were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday.
Lea, of Lake Road East, Cardiff, was sentenced to 19 months in jail suspended for two years and Hall, of The Hawthorns, Pentwyn, Cardiff, was given 12 months in jail also suspended for two years.
Both were disqualified from being company directors for three years and have been ordered to pay a victim surcharge.
Colin Spinks from the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “Lea was in a position of responsibility as a book-keeper and knew he was breaking the law by exploiting the tax system. As a businessman, Hall also knew he was committing fraud. Between them they made a great deal of money at the expense of the taxpayer and public services.
“These men should have known they were not beyond the reach of the law, but they are now paying the price with a suspended prison sentence and we will look to strip them of the proceeds of their criminal activity.”