A BUSINESSMAN who committed a £20,000 fraud to try and prop up his ailing business in the recession was told he had offended against his fellow citizens.
Mark Cyprus Catherall, 49, of Ffordd Llanfynydd, Treuddyn, admitted four charges of making false VAT claims.
Judge Philip Hughes, sitting at Mold Crown Court yesterday, said it was a act of serious dishonesty which went to the heart of the tax system.
“These are offences against your fellow citizens who are doing their best to pay their taxes,” he said.
The offences, which involved dishonest claims, showed that it was a ‘systematic and determined’ fraud, Judges Hughes added.
However, he had pleaded guilty, he was a man of good character who was in poor health and he was now working as a driver.
Catherall received a six month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and he was ordered to carry out 240 hours unpaid work in the community.
The judge ordered that he repay the VAT in full, a total of £20,030.
Catherall denied a fifth charge where the claimed VAT was not paid out and the prosecution offered no evidence against him.
The court heard that during the period involved he had reclaimed just under £30,000 in VAT.
He was entitled to about £10,000 of it but the remainder was based on false invoices.
Prosecutor Emmalyne Downing said that Catherall was VAT registered for Mark Catherall Recycling Ltd and had earlier been registered as Mark Catherall Haulage Ltd.
An investigation was launched which showed invoices claiming that he had spent £46,000 on a crusher, £31,000 on a JCB excavator and £5,000 on skip repair, among others, were false.
Interviewed, he said that he did not know how much he had received back in VAT and when confronted with some of the false invoices claimed not to recall them.
Mark Conner, defending, said his client was willing to pay all the money back.
Before the recession he ran a successful haulage business which employed a number of people.
The offences were committed at a time when his business was failing and he was struggling financially.
“That is no excuse but it does put it in some sort of context,” he said.
“It was not a case of living a lavish lifestyle.”
In reality, although it did provide some sort of quick fix to his problems, he was always going to get caught, Mr Conner said.
He added: “His behaviour demonstrates a lack of judgement.”