Businessman admits £68,000 fraud charges

David Preston
David Preston

A judge told a Bridlington businessman he could be jailed for defrauding tax-payers out of £68,000 over five years.

David Preston, 54, fraudulently pocketed £43,000 in VAT and £24,500 in income tax and business tax he should have paid while operating Preston Building Contractors in Bridlington , Hull Crown Court heard (March 24).

Preston, of St Columba Road, Bridlington, pleaded guilty to two charges of fraudulently evading Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise between March 31 2011 and August 1 2015.

The first charge was that he falsely claimed VAT when he was not registered to charge VAT against Section 72 of the 1994 VAT Act, while operating Preston Building Contractors in Bridlington.

Defence barrister Simon Reevell said there was no basis to his guilty plea. “He has been open from the outset and told the investigators: “I have done what you say I have done. I am sorry.

“The total loss of business tax, income tax and VAT is around £68,500. There is going to be a confiscation hearing at the point of sentence.

“The defendant wants to put his house up for sale, but was told if he did that before he pleaded guilty, it would be seen as an attempt to disperse his assets. “His next door neighbour sold his house in two days so he wants to do that.”

Judge Mark Bury ordered Preston to stand before addressing him.

He said: “You have pleaded guilty to serious offending. I am sure you realise that. The likelihood is that you will receive an immediate custodial sentence.”

Judge Bury adjourned for a pre-sentence report on his background to be completed before the defendant’s next appearance.

Preston was allowed to walk free from court and will return on April 29 for sentencing.