22 Feb 2017 | 02.28 pm
Event Elephant Director Jailed For Tax Evasion
Alan Barrett siphoned off €967,000 from company funds
22 Feb 2017 | 02.28 pm
Alan Barrett, one of the principals of events registration company Eventelephant Ltd, has been sentenced to 42 months in prison for tax evasion, with 12 months suspended.
Barrett (39), of Ashbourne, Co Meath, had pleaded guilty to VAT fraud and tax evasion totalling over €1.07m, on one charge of filing an incorrect return of personal Income Tax, and nine charges of filing incorrect returns on behalf of Eventelephant Ltd.
These included four charges of consenting and conniving to file incorrect VAT returns on behalf of Eventelephant Ltd; four charges of consenting and conniving to claim or obtain relief, exemption or repayment of VAT on behalf of Eventelephant Ltd; and one charge of consenting and conniving to fail without reasonable excuse to keep or retain books and records for the purposes of PAYE/PRSI on behalf of Eventelephant Ltd.
Commenting on the case, Revenue Commissioner Liam Irwin said: “Revenue’s response to serious cases of non-compliance is robust and determined. We use all the powers at our disposal, up to and including criminal prosecution, and the consequences for individuals can be very grave.
“Revenue operates on the presumption of honesty. However, anyone who engages in evasion can expect a strong Revenue response. This outcome reflects the seriousness and unacceptability of tax and duty evasion.”
Barrett was disqualified as a director by the High Court in 2016 after the company liquidators disclosed that Barrett extracted €967,000 from company funds to his own accounts between May 2009 and August 2013.
Event Elephant processed ticket payments and charged a commission. In the disqualification proceedings, Justice Tony O’Connor noted that Barrett siphoned off significant portions of the income destined for the customers of the company to a PayPal account of the company, which he then transferred to a PTSB account in his own name.
“The software developed for the company should have been intended and designed to direct payments to a trust account or the actual account of the event organiser,” the judge stated.
The first incident of wrongful diversion detected by the liquidators, who were appointed in 2013, occurred in 2009, which was within a year of the commencement of business and incorporation of the company. Barrett did not dispute the facts asserted by the liquidator.
Event Elephant received €300,000 in taxpayer funding from Enterprise Ireland in 2009.