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Jail for men who 'made up' VAT returns for franchise lettings branch

A man who submitted false VAT returns for the Lincoln franchise branch of Martin & Co for a period of six years has been imprisoned.

Craig Williamson was one of two men jailed over what was described in court as “shambolic” book keeping. 

In total, and including VAT returns undertaken by Williams for Lincoln Car Sales Ltd in addition to the Martin & Co agency branch, the pair evaded paying more than £340,000 in VAT.

An investigation in 2014 also found out that Williamson stole some £35,000 from the agency; he has already served a 20-month sentence for that offence.

The Lincolnshire Live website, which had a reporter at Lincoln Crown Court attending the hearing on the two men, says VAT investigations began in May 2014.

The court heard the prosecution say: “At Lincoln Car Sales there wasn’t any kind of financial system. Documents were seized and the investigators were able to unravel what had been going on.”

Williamson admitted submitting 23 false VAT returns relating to Lincoln Car Sales and the prosecution told the court: “[Williamson] admitted he had concealed cash payments from customers.”

He also admitted fraudulent evasion of £13,700 of VAT by submitting false returns for Martin & Co between June 2008 and July 2009.

Williamson has now been jailed for 18 months.

During the time of the offences the Lincoln Martin & Co branch was run by Mark Creswell, who admitted being knowingly concerned in the evasion of £148,000 of VAT by allowing the submission of false VAT returns between June 2008 and August 2014.

Creswell also admitted evading paying £16,581 of income tax between April 2009 and April 2014 by failing to declare his true income. 

Creswell has now been jailed for 12 months.

Meanwhile Williamson has repaid £10,900 to HMRC and Creswell has repaid all the money he owed using his savings and by remortgaging properties he owns.

You can see the full local report of the court hearing here.

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