Tim Carron Brown – who pretty much deserves his own category here, doesn’t he? – was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on the afternoon of Friday 26 June 2009.
(Image: HMRC)

He was sentenced to two and a half years, serving half of this time in prison, and disqualified from being a company director for eight years.

He was sentenced on the charge of cheating the Public Revenue, namely HM Customs and Excise, later HM Revenue & Customs, by dishonestly accounting for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or monies charged as VAT in relation to four limited companies. An offence of cheating, contrary to common law.

The four companies, through which the fraud was committed by Carron Brown as a Director, are: Companytv Limited; Second Sight Limited; Anstruther Management Limited; Omedian Limited.

All of these VAT registered companies were run from a rented property in Waddock, Dorchester, and previously from rented property in Ickham, Kent. He was arrested in August 2006.

(Separately I’ve been told that there’s an application for bankruptcy proceedings against him, but haven’t confirmed that.) He was also subject to Bankruptcy Proceedings instigated by Lombard North Central (apparently a financial/leasing/loans organisation). He was made bankrupt at Weymouth County Court on 1 June 2009.

Relating to that, I’ve received a press release from HM REvenue and Customs:

Dorset VAT fraudster jailed

A Dorset based fraudster who illegally reclaimed £312,000 in VAT (Value Added Tax) was jailed for two and a half years at Bournemouth Crown Court today.

Following detailed investigations by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers, Timothy Colin Carron Brown (aged 52) pleaded guilty on 22 May 2009 to an offence of cheating the public revenue.

Peter Avery, HMRC Assistant Director Criminal Investigation said: “This sort of scam requires detailed planning on the part of the criminal and immense dedication from HMRC officers to unravel. This calculated attack on the VAT system not only robbed the exchequer, and therefore honest UK taxpayers, of public funds, but is also unfair to those respectable businesses that diligently abide by the rules.

“Tackling VAT fraud is a priority for us and we will not hesitate to pursue those who commit this type of offence. Anyone who has information about suspected tax fraud can call our 24-hour Customs’ hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email customs.hotline@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk”

Upon sentencing His Honour Judge John Harrow said: “I take the view that you invested a substantial amount of time and energy into the business ventures, and the companies were set up for a legitimate purpose. However you exploited the VAT system by fraudulently claiming VAT repayments of £312,000. This was taxpayers’ money and despite what was said (by defence counsel) it (the fraud) did have a degree of sophistication.”

Judge Harrow then commended the main investigating officer: “For the degree of hard work and investigation skills in this case.”

The VAT fraud involved Carron Brown submitting VAT repayment claims in relation to four VAT registered limited companies. The claims were not legitimate and he was not entitled to the repayments.

Carron Brown used a number of methods to perpetrate the fraud. These included reusing invoices for which he had already reclaimed VAT; submitting false invoices and records, and trading between his own companies to reclaim tax on purchases but not accounting for the corresponding sale.

The fraud was committed between 2001 and 2005. ‘Nil’ returns were rendered once officers began to probe into the companies. Carron Brown used the proceeds of this crime to fund a seemingly affluent lifestyle. HMRC and its prosecutors will pursue confiscation proceedings. The case was successfully prepared for prosecution by the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO).

Here’s the explanation of the offence from HMRC: “VAT registered businesses must 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.

“VAT registered businesses can reclaim VAT paid on their business purchases. This is known as ‘input tax’.

“In simple terms the amount of VAT that can be reclaimed as a ‘VAT repayment’ is the difference between the VATable sales (output) and VATable purchases (input).”

Update: the Dorset Echo has a piece about it:

It was proved that Brown submitted illegitimate VAT repayment claims for four VAT-registered limited companies for which he was not entitled to repayments.

Investigators found Brown used a number of methods to perpetrate the fraud, including reusing invoices for which he had already reclaimed VAT.

His other scams included submitting false invoices and records and trading between his own companies to reclaim tax on purchases without accounting for the corresponding sale.