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26May94 UK: FOUR JAILED IN £1.5M TAX FRAUD.

Four construction company managers who helped their boss cheat the taxman out of nearly £1.5 million are now in jail.Southwark Crown Court heard last week how the four employees of Dorset-based Sedgley Construction played key roles in the scam which was masterminded by managing director Michael Meeneghan.The two-and-a-half year fraud swindled the Inland Revenue out of £907,500 and left unpaid VAT bills of £586,000.Investigators discovered the illegal scheme was used to conceal how employees were paid in cash and the true wages bill hidden. The Inland Revenue now believes Mr Meeneghan has fled to Eire.Company book-keeper and manageress Christine Barrett, 29, was jailed for 18 months and accountant Edward McDarby, 64, for two years. Both admitted conspiring to cheat the Inland Revenue and infringing VAT laws.Mr Meeneghan's son, John, 26, and Thomas Duffey, 51, were each jailed for 12 months after admitting conspiracy to defraud the Inland Revenue.Judge Norma Negus said: 'It is clear to me that the person who mainly benefited from these offences, and was primarily responsible for them, was Micheal Meeneghan.'He is not in front of me having absconded. Nevertheless you all played a part, and you played important parts.'Sedgley Construction is now in liquidation. It had been involved in supplying labour for the M3 extension and cable laying in Edinburgh. CONSTRUCTION NEWS