Donegal building contractor jailed for nine months

A Donegal building contractor who 'faked' a set of invoice books and failed to make VAT returns of more than €110,000 has been jailed for nine months.

Alan James Hynes from Sheercloon, Raphoe, claimed he panicked and had made a false set of books for a four month period between November 2005 and February 2006 during which his company took in €480,000.

Hynes of AJH Construction was investigated by the Revenue Commissioners office on March 9th, 2006 as part of a general audit.

Revenue investigator Ms Shiela Hanley told Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal that on the face of it the books of AJH Construction were in order.

However further investigation by the Revenue found large sums of money had been paid to the accused, and not disclosed.

When challenged,  Hynes admitted he had not paid the VAT returns, and he was operating a second set of ‘false’ books.

Revenue Investigators found that VAT returns of €43,800 had not been paid on income between November and December of 2005, with a further €65,673 in VAT returns on estimated income unpaid for the first two months of 2006.

Father-of-three Hynes added that his company went into liquidation as a result of the investigation by the Revenue Commissioner’s office and that he had to let eight workers go.

Judge Seamus Hughes said Hynes' actions had cost up to eight people and their families their livelihoods.

He added that this was fraud on a “massive, massive scale” and he wanted to send out a message to dissuade other people from a similar offence.