A former animal shelter boss has been sentenced for evading more than £37,000 of VAT after a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation.

Zara Brown, 30, of Patna, Ayrshire, registered an electrical components business for VAT and between March 2013 and December 2014 claimed repayments of £37,279.18 for stock purchases.

HMRC officers found no evidence of any business transactions to support her VAT repayments and the company didn’t appear to exist.

Joe Hendry, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Brown stole money from honest taxpayers and showed a blatant disregard for UK tax law by knowingly defrauding HMRC of VAT.

“HMRC will continue to pursue criminals who attack the tax system and we ask anyone with information about suspected VAT fraud to call  our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Brown pleaded guilty before Ayr Sheriff Court in October 2017 and was sentenced to a 200 hour community payback order of unpaid work to be completed in six months when she appeared at the same court today (9 January 2018).

Brown also had a restriction of liberty order imposed on her between 10pm and 7pm for six months and will not be allowed to operate a business for two years.