A gift shop owner from Croy who helped fund her failing business by stealing more than a quarter of a million pounds from the taxman over eight years has been sentenced.
Carla Ross (49), also known as Jayde Ross, stole at total of £285,000 money by submitting false VAT repayment claims between January 2008 and July 2016 to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Ross worked as a consultant to oil companies in Aberdeen during the fraud.
Her three personal services companies GR Controls Ltd, Compliance Strategies Ltd and JRoss Services Ltd, were registered for VAT, but the returns she submitted showed suppressed invoice amounts and exaggerated purchases made to fraudulently claim VAT repayments.
HMRC officers found that for more than four years, she also provided VAT returns for companies that had previously been dissolved.
The majority of the money stolen was diverted into the company bank account for her Moray business, Gifts From Scotland Ltd, to prop it up and also to support her lifestyle.
Ross, was detained and interviewed in December 2016, where she was charged with VAT fraud.
She pleaded guilty at Elgin Sheriff Court on May 28, and appeared at the same court today (Tuesday) for sentencing.
Ross received an 18-month community payback order and a 12-month restriction of liberty order which mean she will not be able to leave her home between the hours of 7pm and 7am.
Cheryl Burr, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Ross stole money needed to fund our vital public services, an amount equivalent to 10 newly trained police constables in Scotland. Instead, she invested the cash into a failing company and used it to support her lifestyle.
“HMRC will pursue criminals who attack the tax system and we ask anyone with information about suspected tax fraud to report it to HMRC online at www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business, or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”