Ex-HMRC officer caught in £12,000 tax fraud

A dismissed tax officer who set up an online business trading games consoles, video games and DVDs has been sentenced for stealing more than £12,000 from the public purse.

Neil James Foster began the online trading after he was sacked from a HM Revenue & Customs’ contact centre in Country Durham in 2009, and took a job with an energy firm.

But the 32-year-old was found to have lied on his tax return, which fraudulently declared £31,000 in business losses that he used to claim income tax repayments of £12,319.59.

An HMRC investigation also found that the alleged losses, claimed between 2009 and 2011, were offset against tax that he had already paid through his job with the energy firm.

Diane Donnelly, HMRC’s assistant director of criminal investigation, suggested that Foster knew - better than most - that he’d be “rigorously pursued” for his criminal activity.

She said: “As someone who used to work for HMRC, Foster knew that lying on his tax return, with the sole aim of lining his own pockets, was going to land him in court.”

Foster pleaded guilty to four counts of being knowingly involved in the fraudulent evasion of income tax at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court. He was sentenced to eight months in prison - suspended for 12 months – and ordered pay £165 in court costs.

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