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HMRC will track down VAT fraudsters wherever they may hide

HMRC will track down VAT fraudsters wherever they may hide

Contractor accountants should be in no doubt that HMRC will track down fraudsters wherever they may be.

Mark Anthony McGovern jumped bail in 2008 after pleading guilty to laundering the proceeds of a VAT fraud. He was due to be sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on the first of August 2008 but by then he had already fled the country.

The fraudster even sent the judge a note saying he was frightened and upset at the idea of serving a prison sentence but would hand himself in when he felt he had readied himself! Four years later, he was still missing.

During his absence the judge sentenced him to two years in prison and an arrest warrant was issued.

At the time the case first came to court, McGovern was said to owe the Revenue £278,340.87 from his criminal activities. Shortly afterwards HMRC applied for a confiscation order and it was ruled that McGovern should repay the money within 28 days or face a further four years imprisonment. With interest that amount now stands at £345,000 and the Revenue will continue with its efforts to reclaim it.

French police eventually arrested McGovern in a house in Languedoc-Roussillon on the 28th of March and he was extradited to the UK on the 16th April this year.

This wasn’t the first time that the wily criminal had absconded. In 1997 he was involved in another fraud case but had fled to Belgium before the authorities in the UK could arrest him. He was extradited and tried at Southwark Crown Court in 2002

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Image: You are… where? by Bods

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