Payroll firm boss jailed for swindling £250,000

A payroll firm boss who pocketed over £250,000 by dodging VAT while siphoning off tax and NICs that his employees thought were going to HMRC has been jailed for two years.

Andrew Bettis, of Cheverhall Ltd, also received an eight-year ban from being a director, after admitting that taxes he deducted from staff wages he actually stole to keep his firms afloat.

As well as to acting dishonestly as the director of three companies by failing to pay HMRC a penny in PAYE or NICs, he plead guilty to eight counts of fraud over a seven-year period.

But Chelmsford Crown court heard that Bettis evaded even more in VAT – £197,000 – having not paid the right VAT, and having not sent HMRC the correct VAT returns.

Operating out of Essex as a book-keeping and payroll provider to local businesses, the 43-year-old was said by HMRC to have intentionally taken the cash to “buoy up his businesses.”

“[Bettis] knew full well he was acting fraudulently… [and] shamelessly used his employees’ Tax and National Insurance to fund his businesses,” added the Revenue’s Paul Barton.

Upon handing a two-year sentence to Bettis, who faces confiscation proceedings, the judge told him: “You behaved in a shameful fashion and abused your position”.

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