A bookkeeper from Altrincham has been handed a suspended prison sentence for attempting to steal £75,000 in a tax fraud.
Matthew Ashworth, of Place Road in Broadheath, submitted fake VAT returns for two companies he owned in a bid to steal £74,947.
Ashworth was the sole director of Electus Accountancy Services and Grandstream Warehouse Ltd, which supplied office phones.
A HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation found that he forged 28 purchase invoices from other companies, dishonestly reclaiming £21,616 in VAT between July 2016 and April 2018.
He attempted to claim a further £53,331, which was withheld by HMRC.
Paul Maybury, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, said: “The honest majority of business owners pay what they owe and claim back what they’re entitled to. Ashworth knew the rules but chose to ignore them.
“He used his bookkeeping knowledge and position as a company director to steal from the public purse – money which is needed to fund our vital public services.
“Anyone with information about tax fraud should report it to HMRC online or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Ashworth was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years, at Manchester Crown Court. He was also disqualified as a director for five years and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.