Cracks exposed in Lincolnshire plasterers’ £66,000 tax scam

Lincoln Crown Court.
Lincoln Crown Court.

Two plasterers from Lincolnshire who stole more than £66,000 in VAT and Income Tax have been sentenced after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uncovered their scam.

Jonathan Eastgate, 28, of Station Road, Helpringham, Sleaford, and Declan Bishop, 24, of Old Boston Office, Hecklington, Boston, co-directors of Eco Homes Insulation Solutions Ltd and VD Plastering Ltd, were arrested by HMRC in January this year. Investigations showed that they had lied about their income on their VAT returns so they could claim repayments for services they provided.

Eastgate and Bishop fraudulently claimed a £43,873.84 VAT repayment for Eco Homes Insulation Solutions Ltd in March 2014. In September 2014, they fraudulently claimed a VAT repayment of £10,626.54 for VD Plastering Ltd.

Eastgate also over inflated expenses on his Self Assessment returns to fraudulently claim nearly £12,000 in Income Tax over a three-year period.

Stuart Taylor, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Both Bishop and Eastgate blatantly went about making false VAT claims with no regard for the vital public services they were stealing the money from. Eastgate went even further, by doing the same on his Self Assessment returns; but their fraud was soon unpicked by HMRC and now they are paying the price for their criminal actions.

“I urge anyone with information about individuals or businesses involved in tax fraud to contact the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Eastgate was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 100 hours of unpaid work and Bishop was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 80 hours of unpaid work, when they appeared at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday 11 December 2015.

Civil proceedings to recover the proceeds of the crime will follow.