Lincolnshire businessman jailed for tax fraud after 'lapse of judgement'
A BUSINESS consultant has been jailed for 15 months after being convicted of a £60,000 tax fraud.
Roger Ede, of Sleaford Road, Tattershall, fiddled VAT money over a two year period using a series of companies he was involved with.
Ede, 52, a former school biology teacher, who had been involved with the Boston Mayflower Trust until his resignation, denied three charges of fraudulently obtaining VAT repayments relating to UK Soap Co Ltd, Soma Vita Ltd and Alpha Canis Ltd on dates between 2009 and 2011.
He was convicted following a jury trial earlier this year.
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Recorder Gareth Evans QC told him: "You struck me as an arrogant, thoroughly dishonest man.
"You tried to persuade a jury that black was white. You still maintain your innocence and there is no remorse on your part."
A jury heard how in a series of transactions Ede sold trademarks valued at £150,000 from one firm, UK Soap Co Ltd, to another firm Alpha Canis Ltd.
No VAT was paid by UK Soap Co Ltd but Alpha Canis reclaimed VAT on the same transactions.
Alpha Canis was a company Ede had set up to channel payments for work he did for UK Soap Co Ltd of which he was also a director.
Ede later told HMRC investigators that he believed he acted legitimately as he thought UK Soap Co Ltd had time in which to pay the tax and it could be done in the "wrapping up" of the company's affairs when it was dissolved.
Ede carried out further transactions between his companies which defrauded the HMRC in a similar way.
Ede told investigators: "I thought declarations like that could be dealt with up to three years later. I thought I was acting wholly legitimately." He said he went into business believing he and his associates had ideas which could "produce a millionaire lifestyle" but that never happened and he was reduced to existing on hand outs from friends and relatives to pay for his living expenses and the £600 a month rent on his home.
He said: "I always believed we were a step away from a big pay-out."
Michael Rudd, defending, said the companies were legitimate businesses and had not been set up for the specific purpose of defrauding the tax authorities.
He said the offences occurred at a time when Ede had financial problems after his credit card was withdrawn.
Mr Rudd said "It was a lapse of judgement. He wasn't living a champagne lifestyle."
Mr Rudd added that Ede has resigned from a number of positions he held including his roles with Skegness Academy, the Boston Mayflower Trust , the Friends of Holy Trinity in his home village, and from the education committee of the Institute of Biology.