A Selston boss of a coach company ‘abused the tax system’ to pocket more than £40,000.
Neil Eke, 36, of Holly Hill Road, made £44,000 through a series of false VAT returns for his Derbyshire-based company, Peak Bus and Coach Limited, and tried to extort a further £11,000 by manipulating his accounts.
The investigation, made HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), found Eke had produced dozens of false invoices over an 18-month period so that he could use them to claim bogus VAT repayments.
Between January 2011 and August 2012 Eke submitted 16 fraudulent VAT returns which he supported with 42 invoices showing VAT paid on the hire of vehicles. Subsequent enquiries by HMRC proved all those receipts were false.
He was charged with two counts of VAT fraud and pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Nottingham Crown Court on 6 January 2015. He was sentenced at the same court on 10 February 2015.
Stuart Taylor, assistant director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: “Eke abused the tax system to line his own pockets and this will not be tolerated.
“This sentence will serve as a stern reminder that we will tackle tax fraud in all its guises on behalf of the taxpayer to secure and protect public finances.”
Eke pleaded guilty to two counts of VAT fraud at an earlier hearing and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for a year, at Nottingham Crown Court. He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and put on a 60-day curfew, between 9pm and 6am.
Peak Bus and Coach Limited was based out of Horsley Woodhouse and operated a number of school bus services in the Ripley/Denby area of Derbyshire.