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Fri September 17 2021

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Jobless builder jailed for VAT swindle

1 Jul 18 An out-of-work builder falsely claimed £750,000 of VAT repayments to feed his gambling habit, a court has heard.

Peter Howes, 58, of Waterlooville, Hampshire, was sent to prison last week for two years and eight months.

Howes submitted fraudulent VAT returns to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) between June 2011 and October 2017. He claimed he was working as a builder and entitled to VAT repayments on his taxable purchases. But investigators found that he hadn’t been working at all and had simply made up the figures on VAT returns.

Richard Wilkinson, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: “Howes committed VAT fraud to fund his gambling habit, and is now in jail for his crime. He stopped working as a builder and used the tax system as his personal bank account. It is simply not acceptable to steal from UK taxpayers and the public services we all rely upon.”

Howes fraudulently claimed £750,602 under his former trading name of PD Howes Building & Development. He received around £9,500 a month. HMRC withheld £19,875 of the money claimed while investigations took place.

Howes pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT at Portsmouth Crown Court on 25th June 2018. He was sentenced to jail two days later.

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