South Shields businessman spent 'stolen' tax on Disneyland holidays and Sunderland football executive boxes
A businessman dodged Â£93,000 in tax while spending the cash on foreign holidays and executive boxes at Sunderland football matches.
Kevin Charles Houshby lied to HM Revenue and Customs about his income and expenses connected to his KCH Water and Engineering Services business.
He instead used the sum to fund a string of holidays across Europe, Canada and America - including New York, Las Vegas and Disneyland - plus a fortnight at a luxury apartment in Marbella.
He also regularly attended Sunderland AFC football games, occasionally hiring executive suites on match days, and travelled to Ukraine to watch England at the Euro 2012 tournament.
Houshby, 56, of Mowbray Villas, South Shields, also failed to register for or pay VAT despite trading above the threshold since January 2012.
The fraud was uncovered after checks on Houshby’s bank accounts revealed he had provided false information on his Income Tax Self Assessment returns between 2012 and 2015.
Investigators found he had under-declared income and exaggerated expenses – including a Â£14,000 accommodation bill – supported by phoney invoices.
Houshby also used forged documents to claim a Â£10,232 tax repayment he was not entitled to and failed to declare his true income on VAT returns.
Houshby admitted Income Tax and VAT fraud at Newcastle Crown Court last April and was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 150 hours unpaid work when he was finally sentenced earlier this week.
Cheryl Burr, assistant director at HMRC's fraud investigation service, said: “Houshby stole from the public purse to fund a luxury lifestyle beyond his means. He is paying the price for thinking he could cheat honest and hardworking taxpayers.
“HMRC will continue to pursue those criminals who attack the tax system. If you know of anyone committing tax fraud you can report them online or by calling the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Legal attempts are now underway to recovery the Â£93,000 from Houshby and a HMRC spokesman said: “The recovery of the money is being dealt with civilly.”
Information about any type of tax fraud can also be reported to HMRC online at https://www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business.