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Dublin: 6°C Monday 19 April 2021

Contractor who 'isn't white collar' gets suspended sentence for €2.5m tax fraud

Patrick Mahony “consistently, knowingly and willfully” filed incorrect VAT returns, Ennis Circuit Court was told.

Image: Shutterstock/Andy Dean Photography

A COUNTY CLARE building contractor walked free from court after receiving a three-year suspended jail term for a €2.594 million Revenue tax fraud.

At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, Judge Gerald Keys said that married father-of-four Patrick Mahony’s (49) “significant tax fraud” had cost the State a “tremendous amount of money”.

However, Judge Keys said he was prepared to suspend the three-year prison term as jailing Mahony would rob his family of their only source of income and put the family home at risk of repossession.

Keys said Mahony had co-operated fully with Revenue, had no previous convictions, had pleaded guilty and received no monetary gain from his fraudulent conduct.

Keys also fined Mahony €10,000 and give him 12 months to pay the fine.

The judge noted there is a €4 million judgment against Mahony, who continues to work in England today where his tax affairs are in order.

Keys said Mahony couldn’t be described as a ‘white collar’ businessman as he didn’t have the background or skills to run a business employing over 300 people.

None of the €2.594 million has been paid back to Revenue – Mahony’s company’s Boxform Ltd went into liquidation in April 2008.

In 2007, Boxform Ltd had a turnover of €8.6 million and employed 326 people over a 12-month period.

Keys said Mahony of Craglea, Woodstock, Ennis, on receipt of finding out from the company bookkeeper the VAT, PRSI and PAYE sums had to be paid to Revenue in 2006 and 2007 had directed the bookkeeper to reduce the amounts to be owed.

The judge said: “This was a deliberate act of fraud on your part and cannot be excused.”

If everyone behaved in the manner that you did, this country would have no revenue for services and no sustainable economy and people would have no jobs.

Boxform Ltd made 12 incorrect VAT returns – six in 2006 and six in 2007. Keys said it has been submitted to him that Mahony’s actions were “not out and out fraud – that it wasn’t out of greed”.

“Mahony found it difficult to be paid and this resulted in a cashflow problem. Also, there was a downturn in business and there was an attraction in reducing the returns so that the company could possibly continue.”

Five properties 

Judge Keys said there is no evidence of Mahony pocketing the money that should have been returned to Revenue.

He said, at one time, Mahony owned five properties but they are all owned by the bank now.

Boxform had lucrative contracts with some of the country’s biggest constructions firms and local authorities and was involved in projects such as the Moat bypass and Waterford bypass.

The court heard how Patrick Mahony “consistently, knowingly and willfully” filed incorrect VAT returns between 2006 and 2007.

The charges relate to Mahony’s time as director of Boxform Ltd – a Clare based company that traded as a sub-contractor involved in steel fixing, concrete finishing and labour.

The firm went into liquidation on 23 April 2008 after a Revenue query into its affairs.

Mahony was barred from being a company director for five years following a High Court action initiated by the company’s liquidator.

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About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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