No jail for company director who took £323,000 meant for tax authorities

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A company director from Fleet Hargate who defrauded the tax authorities of more than £300,000 walked away from court with a suspended jail sentence on Tuesday.

Kevin Dodd (57) pocketed PAYE and national insurance contributions deducted from employees of the South Lincolnshire marketing company Duffin Slessor Dodd Ltd over a six year period and also failed to submit any returns to HMRC.

Lincoln Crown Court was told that the other two directors of the company, based at Duddington near Stamford, only discovered what was happening after HMRC launched an investigation into the firm.

Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, said that no money was sent to HMRC between 2006 and the end of the 2011-12 tax year. The company owed £323,000 in payments due for deductions in wages from the directors and the seven employees.

He said Dodd was responsible for financial matters at the company and his fellow directors believed that the payments had been correctly made. As a result of the debt the company was insolvent and went into liquidation.

Mr Janes said that the HMRC investigation began in June 2012 and revealed that Dodd had pocketed money which was supposed to be paid over in tax. The company accounts showed he paid himself £299,000 over a four year period which was more than double the remuneration received by his fellow directors over the same period.

Mr Janes said “This was a marketing and communications company. It was not unsuccessful. Each director was treated as an employee and there were seven or eight further staff.

“The defendant was responsible for the accounting aspects of the business. There is a requirement to fill in various forms and returns and to pay the correct amounts of PAYE and National Insurance contributions. Over a six year period this was not done.”

He said that the company’s annual accounts did not include any reference to the money outstanding to HMRC but despite that the books were shown to balance.

Dodd, of Skylands Farm, Halgate, admitted a charge of cheating the revenue between 2006 and 2012. He was given an 18 month jail sentence suspended for two years. A hearing to consider confiscating his available assets is to be held at a later date.

Philip Bown, in mitigation, denied Dodd had a lavish lifestyle. He said Dodd built up large personal credit card debts in the early years of running the company and was faced with payments of £2,500 a month just to cover the interest.

Mr Bown said: “The business started in the late 1990s. It was a difficult time economically. In the first few years he built up a pretty huge credit card debt. It did not fund a lavish lifestyle. He has only had one holiday in seven years.

“That is what led him to going down this road. Once he had gone down that road there was no going back.”

He said Dodd admitted pocketing some of the missing HMRC payments but not the total amount.

After the case, HMRC investigator Paul Barton said: “Dodd held a position of trust within the company but he lied to both his fellow directors and HMRC investigators.

“He attempted to hide his fraud by providing incorrect information about the business’s financial affairs but has now lost not only his good name and but also has a criminal record.

“If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud report them by calling our 24 hour hotline on 0800 595000.”