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Co Armagh businessman convicted of £160,000 VAT fraud

The offences were carried out between January 2010 and September 2012

A Co Armagh businessman has been handed a suspended prison sentence after he was convicted of a VAT fraud to the tune of £160,000.

James Henry Joseph Linden was the company secretary of Linden Agri Ltd.

The 38-year-0ld Poyntzpass man admitted at Newry Crown Court using his own UK VAT registration number to buy goods, defrauding suppliers by making payments by cheque which could not be honoured.

The offences were carried out between January 2010 and September 2012.

The court on Wednesday heard that he also imported farming supplies into Northern Ireland from the Republic VAT free by using his registration number. There were sold on to customers in the UK, who were made to pay VAT, but this was not declared to HM Revenue and Customs.

Linden made more than £160,000 as a result of VAT fraud.

He was sentenced to a total of 20 months in prison, suspended for three years, and ordered to pay compensation to four businesses which had been defrauded.

A company director’s ban for three years was also imposed.

Steve Tracey, the HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service assistant director, said the defendant was aware he was breaking the law but “thought he could get away with ripping off honest taxpayers”.

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