Express & Star

Oldbury firm fiddled accounts for years with help of 'made up' invoices - but nobody is jailed

A long-running legal battle between a Black Country haulage company and the taxman has ended with two women being sentenced and no-one jailed.

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Lightning Express was based in Oldbury

Oldbury firm Lightning Express Warehousing and Distribution fiddled accounts from 2009 until 2016 with the help of businessman John Smith who provided "totally made up" invoices from his firm John Smith Haulage.

Company bosses Paul Cockayne, 51 and Martyn Sviter, 49, were cleared of any wrongdoing when Sallyanne Cockayne, Mr Cockayne's wife, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to evade value added tax (VAT) two days into all three's trial in June.

Today, at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Mrs Cockayene, 50, was sentenced along with the daughter of John Smith, who is unfit to stand trial, Samantha Green, previously Smith.

Prosecuting Angus MacDonald said: "In 2014 the company sacked their accountant and after then began submitting false accounts to reduce their liability.

"Mrs Cockayne refused to comment during questioning by the police. However, Samantha Smith admitted making an invoice template for her father had asked her to do it. She said her father could not read or write and the numbers in the invoice were totally made up.

"The false invoices meant the company defrauded HMRC of £52,101in total."