Phone voice led to the downfall of VAT crook

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A FRAUDSTER who claimed more than £123,000 in false VAT repayment claims after setting up fake companies has been jailed for two years.

Tina Tilson’s five-year deception came to light when a tax inspector became suspicious after recognising her distinctive telephone voice, a court heard.

Tilson impersonated her daughter during attempts to trick Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Leeds Crown Court heard Tilson submitted false VAT repayment for Lifting Gear Company, which was purported to be based in Thurnscoe, and Allsorts, a firm Tilson claimed was based in South Elmsall.

The court heard a tax officer visited Lifting Gear in April 2012 and noticed that the premises were empty. Tilson introduced herself to the officer as Trudy Ann Beckett, which is her daughter’s name.

She told the officer that the company’s stock had been temporarily moved.

Tilson, who had previously owned a lifting gear firm which went into liquidation, listed her daughter and her son’s partner as directors.

The second company was supposedly based on Barnsley Road, South Elmsall, and claimed to sell furniture and bric-a-brac.

The same tax officer contacted the company in October 2012 wanting to speak to Tilson’s husband but the officer recognised her voice and became suspicious. The court heard a total of £123,500 false VAT repayment claims were made by Tilson and she received around £98,000.

Mrs Doherty said it was the Crown’s case that the businesses were set up solely for the purposes of submitting false claims.

Tilson, of Greno View, Barnsley, pleaded guilty to 23 offences of fraudulent evasion of tax. The court heard Tilson began committing the offences as a result of problems in her personal life.

Jailing Tilson, recorder Martin Simpson said: “I take the view that this is a serious matter. It is not an appropriate case for suspending a prison sentence because of the amounts of money involved.”