HMRC describe Derry man as ‘a determined and cynical fraudster’

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A Derry accountant, has been described as “a determined and cynical fraudster” by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

James Joseph Heaney who stole over £55,000 in VAT payments from one of his own clients, has been jailed for 12 months after an investigation by HMRC.

James Heaney.

James Heaney.

Heaney collected VAT repayments from his client, falsified the VAT return paying a smaller amount to HMRC and pocketed the difference. He kept over £55,000 in VAT repayments and used the money to buy a property. As part of the investigation HMRC officers also discovered that Heaney, who worked as an accountant in the city centre, had fraudulently claimed tax credits as a handyman receiving over £14,000 he was not entitled to.

Mike Parkinson, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Heaney was in a position of trust but chose to deliberately defraud his own client and cheat the taxpayer. He was a determined and cynical fraudster who, on this occasion, seems to have offered his professional services simply to access his clients’ money and fraudulently line his own pockets.

“The tax system pays for public services, and fraudsters like Heaney are breaking the law at the expense of all of us. Anyone with information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud can contact HMRC through the Tax Evasion hotline on 0800 788 887”