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Norfolk business owner Jonathan Horswell sentenced after pocketing more than £10k from employees’ tax contributions

PUBLISHED: 20:34 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:20 20 September 2017

The owner of a Norfolk publishing company has received a suspended prison sentence for pocketing more than £10,000 from his employees tax contributions. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The owner of a Norfolk publishing company has received a suspended prison sentence for pocketing more than £10,000 from his employees tax contributions. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The owner of a Norfolk publishing company has received a suspended prison sentence for pocketing more than £10,000 from his employees’ tax contributions.

Jonathan Horswell, whose business produces several free magazines around the county, was found to have taken income tax and National Insurance payments from three staff members between April 2011 and September 2013.

According to his LinkedIn profile, the 52-year-old, who lives on Lomond Road, Attleborough, owns Spider Creative Media, which puts together Dispatch Magazine and Fine City Magazine.

Horswell was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to cheating the public revenue.

Prosector Lynne Shirley said the defendant had not paid £10,497 worth of contributions deducted from his employees’ salaries to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

She said all three staff members had since faced difficulties proving their employment with HMRC, resulting in problems obtaining tax credits and Job Seekers’ Allowance.

Miss Shirley said their pensions could also be affected, adding that they may have top it up themselves. But she told the court that HMRC was working to ensure did this not happen.

The court heard how the employees became suspicious after not receiving their P60s or P45s.

Andrew Shaw, mitigating, said Horswell appeared to lack “business acumen”, adding: “There is a degree of incompetence and inefficiency, rather than wilful criminality.

“He was using that money just to stay afloat and keep the business going.”

Mr Shaw said it was “inevitable” Horswell will go bankrupt again, but said he continued to run the business as it has “tremendous sentimental value”.

The court heard how it had been set up by his late mother.

Judge Katharine Moore said: “You have throughout displayed a lack of business acumen, a lack of judgement and a very mean streak.

“In holding onto that money, you cheated the revenue in a way which had a significant and profound effect for the three individuals.”

Horswell was given a three month prison sentence, suspended for 21 months. He must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

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