Vehicle repair centre owner from Shefford jailed after stealing more than £49,000 of VAT

Mario Panico pleaded guilty at Norwich Crown Court

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 5:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 5:18 pm

A vehicle repair centre owner from Shefford has been jailed after stealing more than £49,000 of VAT.

Mario Panico, 63, from Lucas Way, had pleaded guilty to submitting false VAT invoices for his two companies Gorleston Accident Repair Centre Ltd and Gorleston Vehicle Repair Ltd, which traded from business units in Norfolk.

He claimed VAT repayments of £61,442 when records showed the companies were only eligible for £5,444.

Mario Panico was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court

And he was today (September 29) sentenced at Norwich Crown Court to two years in jail and banned as a company director for ten years.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “Panico has been caught and stopped from making money dishonestly.

"He stole money from honest taxpayers at the expense of our public services. Anyone with information about tax fraud should contact the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

The false VAT returns and invoices were submitted between October 2017 and February 2019.

He was interviewed by HMRC officers in May and July 2019, and pleaded guilty in court on March 18, 2021.

Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online.