Andy Harris jailed for VAT fraud

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Leicester busman Andy Harris has been jailed for three years after he faked invoices to the value of £23,400 as part of a VAT fraud

Andrew Harris, who was trading as Harris of Leicester, created false invoices from two companies with costings for refurbishment work carried out on his buses – the Leicester Mercury reported. He then submitted the invoices to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to back up fraudulent VAT repayment claims he made between January 2013 and January 2015. However, the businesses confirmed to HMRC investigators that they had never dealt with Harris – and that the work had never been carried out. Harris, 42, pleaded guilty to VAT fraud when he appeared at Leicester Crown Court in October. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison for the VAT fraud last week.

As Harris was subject to a suspended prison sentence for theft and false accounting at the time of scam, he was jailed for a further 20 months in prison, to run consecutively, bringing the total sentence to three years.

The suspended sentence was in place for a previous conviction involving theft from Oadby-based Confidence Bus and Coach, where he was Transport Manager. In October 2013, he was given a 22-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 180 hours of unpaid work. He admitted false accounting and theft on the basis he took about £30,000, although the prosecution alleged that bank account evidence suggested he might have taken up to £55,000.