Fraudsters’ £60,000 VAT bill deadline

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TWO convicted VAT fraudsters have been given five months by a judge to pay the final instalment of their £250,000 bill.

Robert McLean, 50, of Huxley Drive, Chester-le-Street, and John Hind, 45, of High Street, Low Pittington, admitted fraudulent evasion of tax at Durham Crown Court in 2009.

The case stemmed from their failure to pay VAT while running Atlas Welding and Engineering Supplies in Houghton.

A hearing in October last year was told the pair had paid £130,000.

The case has been back before Durham Crown Court.

Ruth Phillips, for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, said a further £60,000 had been received, leaving another £60,000 outstanding.

Tony Davis, for both men, said: “They are confident the remaining money will be paid in the coming months.”

Judge Christopher Prince ordered the money to be paid by October 18.

The judge said: “This case will be listed again on that date when we will look at the question of costs.

“I am certain it is necessary to keep having these hearings to insure the money continues to come in.”

The judge said the two men should view paying the money on time as a direct alternative to going to prison.