A Tyrone businessman linked to a fuel laundering operation has been given a four month prison sentence suspended for a year.
Daniel Brendan McCartan (57) of Whitebridge Road, Carrickmore, pleaded guilty at Omagh Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, to a charge of fraudulent evasion of duty totalling £15,000 relating to hydrocarbon oils.
The offence is said to have taken place between November 9 and November 27, 2009.
He was caught with several thousands litres of fuel which had come from a Co Tyrone laundering plant smashed by HM Revenue and Customs in Co Tyrone.
A defence counsel said that it was accepted by the crown that McCartan was not a “major player’’ involved in the laundering of fuel.
However, he said the father-of-six had “foolhardedly” taken possession of three loads of oil to sell at a time when he was under a lot of financial pressures.
“The difference in price was only a matter of pence per litre,” said his defence QC.
“It is a good example of how it is so foolish to become involved in something which has small amounts of money to be gained but which have devastating financial consequences.
“He foolishly gave into temptation in this case.
“As a result of his guilty plea, he has lost his good name and his reputation.”
Counsel asked Judge Kinney not to impose an immediate custodial sentence on McCartan and instead asked for any prison sentence to be suspended.
Judge Kinney said McCartan had pleaded guilty to fraudulently evading £15,000 of duty on the fuel.
He said McCartan was “remorseful” for his actions and was considered a low risk of reoffending.
The judge added that even though the custody threshold had been met, he was suspending a four month prison sentence for 12 months.
Judge Kinney also granted an application for compensation and gave McCartan six months to pay back the £15,000 in unpaid duty to HM Revenue and Customs.