Suspended sentence for kitchen-fitter fraudster who falsely claimed £88,000

James Harrison

A kitchen fitter and fraudster from Taplow has been given a suspended sentence for his part in an £88,000 VAT scam.

Appearing at Reading Crown Court on Friday, Stephen Columbine, of River Road, was also told he must repay money he owes, or face prison time.

The 61-year-old had pleaded guilty on June 7 to tax evasion.

The court was told that Columbine, who traded as C Stone Ltd until April 2009, submitted 22 fraudulent VAT returns between August 2009 and November 2014.

This included the creation of false business records to back-up the illegal claims.

He was uncovered by the HMRC VAT Assurance Taskforce.

As well as 20 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, the fraudster was also ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.

If Columbine does not repay £84,908 within six months, he faces 18 months in prison and will still owe the money.

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