A Wallsend scrap dealer, who hid his earnings to evade paying more than £54,000 tax, has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Kane Lee Mather, 30, of Fitzsimmons Avenue, claimed he stopped working due to back and gambling problems but a HM Revenue and Customs investigation found he made £158,456 running a scrap metal company.
He ran KL Recycling and tried to hide the profits by cashing cheque payments, rather than paying them into a bank account.
Mather provided false information to HMRC and paid no tax.
He evaded paying £54,723 income tax and national insurance between 2013 and 2016.
He admitted income tax fraud at Newcastle Crown Court in May.
Last Friday, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for 24 months, and 150 hours’ unpaid work.
Proceedings are under way to recover the money.
An HMRC spokesman said: “Mather told barefaced lies and cheated taxpayers out of money which should be used to fund our public services.”
“ He thought he could hide his crime but he was wrong. Maybe this time he will learn that when he breaks the law, he gets caught.
“HMRC will continue to pursue fraudsters like Mather who think stealing from the public purse is acceptable. Anyone with information about tax fraud should report it to HMRC online or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788887.”