The organiser of an ill-fated north-east music festival has avoided jail after cheating the taxman of nearly £100,000.
Brian Davies, of Mulben, near Keith, had been given three weeks to return the money after admitting falsifying forms to HM Revenue and Customs.
Yesterday, the 64-year-old produced paperwork, showing he had repaid every penny of the £99,000 he swindled from the tax authorities for the aborted festival at Crathes Castle.
The would-be music promoter ploughed more than £260,000 into two cancelled events in 2009 and Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov agreed it seemed he had got carried away.
She said: “I accept this crime was not motivated by greed or personal gain and you had, in fact, made considerable losses yourself.
“I consider this was a gross error of judgement instead of anything evil on your part.”
Davies pulled the plug on the Deeside event, which was due to be held in August 2009, blaming poor ticket sales.
Only 142 had been sold when the festival was cancelled with 2,000 needed to make it viable.
However, when the former drummer appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court last month, he admitted defrauding the public purse in a desperate attempt to keep his firm New Dawn Promotions afloat.
Davies filled out tax forms based on quotes received from bands and suppliers without completing the transactions.
The music promoter subsequently received VAT repayments from HMRC, but failed to tell the authorities the money was never paid.
Rock group, Nazareth, the National Symphony Orchestra, Jonathan Ansell from the X Factor’s band G4 and a host of tribute acts were supposed to be performing at “Music at Crathes”.
Davies, who now runs a charity with his wife, also scrapped a “Memories of Woodstock” festival in Shrewsbury in August 2009, organised to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the legendary event.
His defence advocate, Bill Adam, produced letters and payment slips from HMRC which showed the money had been repaid.
At a previous hearing, Mr Adam explained his client had been “over-optimistic” in hoping the festivals would happen and should have cancelled them sooner.
At Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday, he told Sheriff Pasportnikov that Davies would be best equipped to “add to society” by doing unpaid work instead of time in prison.
Davies, of Fangorn Farm, Mulben, was sentenced to 300 hours of unpaid work for knowingly evading making payments to HMRC by filling out false details on VAT returns for New Dawn Promotions between May 2008 and October 2009.