One man has been jailed and three others sentenced after attempting to steal £260,000 in fraudulent Construction Industry Scheme tax repayments. Under CIS, taxes are deducted at source from self-employed people working in the construction sector, meaning that the self-employed workers are paid after tax and the company making the deduction has to pay the tax to HMRC.
In this case, fraudulent claims totalling over £260k, were submitted to the HMRC Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) between January 2015 and September 2017. Using two businesses to exploit the CIS, Edward Copeland had deducted tax from payments to subcontractors that should have then been passed on to HMRC.
Edward Copeland of Manse Park, Carryduff, pleaded guilty at Antrim Crown Court to conspiracy to cheat the Public Revenue on 12 May 2022. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment at the same court on 7th September 2022. Mr Copeland was also ordered to pay a £150,000 confiscation order.
The other defendants were given suspended sentences, having also pleaded guilty at earlier hearings. Deborah Ramsey of Gortin Manor, Londonderry, was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for three years. Michael Gerard Donaghy,of Carnanreagh Road, Claudy, was sentenced to three years, suspended for two years. Stephen Matthew Fegan, of Horn Drive, Belfast, got two years, suspended for 18 months.
Lucie Irving, assistant director in the HMRC fraud investigation service, said: “The majority of individuals and businesses pay the tax that is due – however there remains a determined minority like Mr Copeland who refuse to play by the rules.
“HMRC is on the side of the law-abiding majority. By tackling the most serious forms of tax crime we are creating a level playing for businesses and citizens. We are determined that they shouldn’t be disadvantaged or impacted by the criminal actions of others. We are successful in nine out of 10 cases we bring to court and this case is another example of that success.”