Liverpool

Everton fan arrested at turnstile over VAT fraud

Damian O'Hagan Image copyright HMRC
Image caption O'Hagan owed more than £90,000 in VAT

A tax cheat who fled to Spain before returning home to watch his beloved Everton play was arrested at the stadium turnstiles, a court has heard.

Damian O'Hagan, 60, of Homestall Road in Norris Green, Liverpool, was jailed for 18 months after admitting VAT fraud at Liverpool Crown Court.

Checks by HM Revenue and Customs found O'Hagan had kept more than £90,000 of VAT which he had charged a client.

O'Hagan attempted to cover up his crime by trying to become VAT-registered.

The director of Foodservice Interim Management Limited, who owed £91,761 in VAT, moved to Benidorm in January 2015 to run a bar but could not resist the lure of the Toffees.

'Pocketing the VAT'

He was arrested as he tried to enter Goodison Park ahead of Everton's 2-0 defeat against Manchester City on 23 August 2015.

Sandra Smith, assistant director of the HMRC's fraud investigation service, said: "O'Hagan knew his business transactions were under scrutiny and the game was up. This was one match he wasn't going to win.

"He chose to pocket the VAT he had collected from his client at the expense of UK taxpayers and because of his dishonesty he has been jailed."

O'Hagan also faces a full confiscation hearing to recover the VAT.

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