A man who helped run a racehorse firm in Crawley Down has been jailed for a £69,000 VAT fraud.
Andrew Chatters, 39, was sentenced to three years in prison after a three-week trial at Brighton Crown Court.
Chatters, a former footballer who played for Ely, dealt with the running and financial management of A and J Racing in Crawley Down.
The business owned racehorses and provided equine construction services, building stables and gallops.
The company had 15 horses in training placed with a number of high profile trainers. Chatters fraudulently claimed a repayment of £34,576 in VAT through the company.
Enquiries by HMRC found that he had also failed to declare VAT charged on the sale of racehorses and equine construction services meaning he owed a further £34,500 in VAT.
Alan Tully, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service said: “Andrew Chatters thought that he could fiddle his taxes and line his own pockets but he was wrong. He will now pay the price by losing his freedom and his assets.
“The vast majority of people in the UK are honest and pay the taxes that are due, but if you know of anyone who is not please report them by calling our 24 hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.”