Ex-airman funded his gambling by wrongly claiming £88k refund
A fraudster has been jailed after fiddling his tax figures and wrongly claiming refunds totalling nearly £88,000, a court heard.
The ex-Royal Air Force serviceman grossly over-inflated his supposed income in a "deliberate" and long-running bid to claim cash to prop up his growing gambling addiction, the court was told.
Matthew Johnson, 28, of Cherry Tree Gardens, Crowle, admitted two fraud offences between October 17, 2010 and January 21 this year.
He also admitted possessing 21 extreme pornography movies, involving women in sexual activities with dogs, on January 26.
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Gordon Stables, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that Johnson submitted online tax returns for two tax years, claiming that he had overpaid large amounts of tax for self-employed work.
He had worked for the company involved in the past but had done no work for it during those two tax years. He claimed he had earned about £137,000 – and paid tax on it – in one year and £101,000 in the second year. He resubmitted the figures a number of times.
"All the figures were fraudulent," said Mr Stables.
Johnson's false claims involved a total of £87,955 but the last two payments were stopped by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and he was actually paid about £82,000.
Johnson used the money to finance a growing gambling addiction and later told investigators: "What can I say? I have been an idiot."
The pornography was discovered on his computer during the investigation.
Craig Lowe, mitigating, said Johnson had served in the Royal Air Force, including Afghanistan, for about six years and suffered post traumatic stress disorder after a near-fatal helicopter collision. He was still receiving counselling.
Events "spiralled out of control", he lost his job and started gambling. He built up heavy debts and "gambled some more", said Mr Lowe.
Johnson had shown genuine remorse and regretted his actions. He had been married for about eight years and had two children aged six and three.
Judge Kate Buckingham told Johnson: "The frauds were deliberate from the outset. You inflated the figures for your income significantly and claimed refunds for tax you had not paid. It involved multiple transactions and was carried out over a significant period over these two tax years."
Johnson was jailed for 15 months.