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Oakham fraudster jailed for paying off £107,000 tax fraud scam with more stolen money

A serial fraudster has been jailed for four years and nine months after repaying a tax fraud debt with money stolen in another scam.

Duncan Johnson, 57, of Main Street in Teigh, Oakham, admitted a £107,000 tax fraud but promised the judge that he’d repay the money, so sentencing was postponed for six months.

But HM Revenue and Customs investigators discovered Johnson was raising the money to pay the debt through a second scam that involved stealing more than £500,000 from other businesses.

Duncan Johnson
Duncan Johnson

Johnson orchestrated the tax fraud by submitting fake VAT returns over a 17-month period from April 2013.

He claimed to be trading with EU businesses outside the UK so no VAT was due but HMRC investigators discovered this was a lie and all his clients were in the UK.

Johnson admitted tax fraud in March 2016 and paid back £87,000 to HMRC. He promised to pay more of the stolen cash, leading a judge to give him a six-month reprieve.

But during that time, HMRC investigators poured over Johnson’s finances and found a pattern of suspicious payments into his accounts.

His web of lies unravelled and a second scam was discovered, which saw him steal £583,806 from other businesses by taking online payments for an assortment of merchandise such as football flags and virtual reality goggles that were never dispatched.

Some of the proceeds of the fraud, which ran from March 2013 to December 2016, had been used by Johnson to pay his outstanding tax bill. He admitted the second fraud at Leicester Crown Court in June 2018.

He was sentenced to four years and nine months at the same court on Friday.

In sentencing him, HHJ Dean QC said that Duncan Johnson had acted in a "profoundly dishonest manner and that people had lost their jobs and their livelihoods as a result of his criminal activity".

Confiscation proceedings to recover the stolen money have begun.

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