HMRC found James Joseph Heaney collected VAT payments from his client and falsified the VAT return, paying a smaller amount to the Revenue.
Heaney pocketed the difference and used the money to buy a property. Furthermore, the accountant had fraudulently claimed tax credits as a handyman receiving £14,000 he was not entitled to.
As a result, Heaney was sentenced at Londonderry Crown Court to 12 months in jail – six months custodial and six months on licence.
Mike Parkinson, assistant director at HMRC’s fraud investigation service said, “Heaney was in a position of trust but chose to deliberately defraud his own client and cheat the taxpayer.
“He was a determined and cynical fraudster who, on this occasion, seems to have offered his professional services simply to access his clients’ money and fraudulently line his own pockets.”
Parkinson added fraudsters like Heaney are “breaking the law at the expense of all of us”.