Film fugitive’s £500k tax flight grounded

The owner of a London video conferencing company, who fled the country after faking documents and making up figures on his tax returns in a £500,000 fraud, has been jailed for 45 months

Stephen McKenzie was the sole director of ICU (Global) Ltd. An HMRC investigation found that he was inflating the value of his purchases and producing false invoices to generate VAT repayments to which he was not entitled.

McKenzie, from Middlesex, carried out the scam between October 2008 and March 2013 before closing down his business, selling his home and fleeing to Ireland, leaving a false address in America. But he was arrested by HMRC investigators after landing at Leeds Bradford Airport in July 2016, en-route to the Greek island of Zante.

McKenzie admitted VAT fraud and was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail at Southwark Crown Court at the beginning of January. Confiscation proceedings are underway to recoup the proceeds of his crime.

Martin Brown, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: ‘As McKenzie found out, there is no hiding place for tax fraudsters. He manipulated the accounts of his business and drew up false invoices to steal taxpayers’ money.’

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