Bookkeeper jailed after conning taxman out of £240,000

A bookkeeper from Stockton-on-Tees who conned the taxman out of hundreds of thousands of pounds after lying about £1m of earnings has been jailed.

Nicholas David Riley, who traded as Dennis Riley & Co, lied about earning more than £1m to evade paying the correct amount of tax, an investigation by HMRC revealed.

HMRC said Riley “shamelessly” stole from public services and the amount he pocketed was the equivalent to the salaries of 10 newly qualified nurses for a year.

The 50-year-old failed to tell HMRC about income totalling £1,028,132 between 2011 and 2017 to pocket £241,220 in VAT and Income Tax.

HMRC started looking into Riley’s tax affairs after he submitted VAT returns in 2013 and 2014, but did not declare any income. The bookkeeper had previously received a penalty for similar wrongdoings.

Riley was charged with being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT and Income Tax. He admitted VAT and Income Tax fraud at Teesside Crown Court and was sentenced to two years and four months in prison.

Proceedings are under way to recover the stolen money.

Cheryl Burr, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “Riley knew the rules but chose to ignore them. He worked in a position of trust and shamelessly stole from our public services. The amount he pocketed was equivalent to the salaries of ten newly qualified nurses for a year.”

She added: “HMRC will continue to pursue criminals like Riley who think stealing tax is acceptable. I encourage anyone with information on this type of fraud to report it to HMRC online, or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online by visiting www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business.

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