A Northamptonshire businessman who admitted falsifying records for a bogus dental supplies business to steal over £40,000 in VAT, but then absconded before he was sentenced, has been jailed for 26 months.
Cristian Cojocaru, from Brackley, claimed he had exported over £275,000 of dental equipment across Europe, including dentist chairs, but an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found his company never actually traded and the sales were all made up. He pleaded guilty to submitting four fraudulent VAT repayment claims between June 2012 and June 2013.
Cojocaru absconded to Romania while he was on bail before his sentencing in October 2014. He was arrested when he arrived back in the UK in September 2015.
Stuart Taylor, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Cojocaru couldn’t have been more deliberate in his fraud using a totally fabricated scam with the sole aim of lining his pockets with cash that should have been funding vital public services.
“He knew he was breaking the law but carried on regardless. He thought that by leaving the country he would fall off our radar, but he didn’t and now has to pay the price for his criminal activities.
“Tax fraud is a serious offence and I urge anyone with information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud to contact the HMRC Tax Evasion hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Cojocaru was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court yesterday to two years in prison for the VAT fraud. He was given a further two months in prison, to run consecutively, for failing to surrender to bail.