Road haulage boss in 11-year ban for falsifying the company?s tax returns.

David Cooper, 55, from Blyth, Northumberland, was a director of CFM Transport Ltd (CFMT), based in Chester Le Street, Tyne and Wear.

Mr Cooper was a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) mechanic and driver for around 30 years before seeing an opportunity to move into the road haulage business, incorporated CFMT and began trading in 2011.

The business grew and expanded into European markets and on advice, set up two further companies, CFM Cargo Logistics Ltd and CFM Continental Ltd.

In early 2015, however, one of the company?s vehicles was involved in an accident abroad and while waiting for the insurance claim to be settled and the companies? petroleum tax refund entitlements, Mr Cooper submitted false VAT claims in order to keep the companies afloat.

Mr Cooper?s wrongdoing was discovered and with the prospect of criminal proceedings for tax-related fraud, he opted to cease trading.

Following the end of the liquidation process, the Insolvency Service looked in to Mr Cooper?s role in the collapse of the companies. Those investigations revealed that Mr Cooper had knowingly created and submitted false returns in order to claim VAT to which the company was not entitled.

On 8 October, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from David Cooper, after he admitted knowingly creating and submitting false returns to reclaim Value Added Tax to which the company was not entitled. His ban is effective from 29 October 2018 and lasts for 11 years.

Robert Clarke, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, commented:

The public can be assured that where there have been abuses of public finance provisions which result in losses of this type, the Insolvency Service will investigate the conduct of the parties involved and take action to remove the privilege of limited liability trading for a lengthy period.

Directors have a firm duty to ensure they deal properly with tax matters and pay what is due. Mr Cooper has paid the price for failing to do that, as he cannot now carry on in business other than at his own risk.

In a separate investigation, Mr Cooper was convicted of ?being knowingly concerned in fraudulent evasion of VAT?, totalling ?148,228 and on 15 June 2017 he was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months.