Fife businessman facing jail after admitting £500k tax fraud

Fleming appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court  today.
Fleming appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court today.

A Fife businessman is facing a jail sentence after admitting a half-million pound tax fraud.

John Fleming, boss of Anstruther based ICS Fisheries Ltd, illegally obtained almost £500,000 from the taxman over the course of six years.

Dundee Sheriff Court today heard he was “knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT” totalling £489,341.48 between May 2007 and July 2013.

Fleming now faces a potential prison sentence following a “complex” probe by tax inspectors.

The court was told Fleming sent in false VAT repayment claims in the name of his company over the course of six years, leading him to receiving the huge payments.

Fleming, 59, of Balmullo, Fife, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge under the Value Added Tax Act.

Defence solicitor David Bell said: “It won’t surprise the court to learn this has been a long and complex investigation by HMRC.

A Proceeds of Crime application has today been served Mr Fleming and a call on his bail conditions to be maintained.

“It is a very serious charge and he knows that. As recently as Friday he has paid a substantial sum - around a third to half of the total figure - to HMRC,“ said the defence solicitor.

“It is expected that subject to a mortgage being resolved that the full amount will be paid.

“His status being maintained will facilitate some money going back to the taxpayer.”

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael deferred sentence until next month for the Crown to provide a full narrative of the facts in the case and Mr Fleming was released on bail pending next month’s hearing.