An 83-year-old construction director has been jailed after he was found to have stolen almost £650,000 in fraudulent VAT repayments.
Derek Hole from Kingston Seymour, Clevedon, was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison at Bristol Crown Court after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs found he had submitted fictitious VAT returns for building supplies.
Mr Hole was director of Somerset-based construction firm Briar Building Ltd when he made the claims totalling £644,579 between January 2012 and September 2017.
He claimed the company was constructing new-build residential properties, which are generally zero-rated for VAT purposes.
Mr Hole was arrested in March this year after an investigation by HMRC discovered his purchases, which were fabricated in order to illegally receive VAT payments.
He pleaded guilty to being knowingly involved in the fraudulent evasion of value added tax at a hearing on 24 September. He was sentenced on 25 October.
HMRC fraud Investigation service assistant director Richard Wilkinson said: “Mr Hole lied so he could claim money he wasn’t entitled to.
“He manipulated a system that exists for the benefit of legitimate companies, individuals and charities with the sole purpose of cynically lining his own pockets.
“He knew he was breaking the law, yet chose to overlook it for the opportunity of making what he wrongly assumed would be easy money, at the expense of the taxpayer.”