Wayne Morris Harrison, 52, from Harbledown, admitted submitting fraudulent VAT repayment claims to HMRC in respect of two building and development companies he directed – David Charles Homes Ltd and Weybridge Homes Ltd.
He was sentenced to two and a half years.
HMRC officers searching Harrison’s former home in Broadstairs found evidence of significant personal expenditure that included money transfers to Russia, golf club and gym membership, designer jewellery and a large newly-built kitchen and conservatory.
Canterbury Crown Court heard that between 2006 and 2009 Harrison fraudulently claimed VAT refunds totalling £812,250. These were claimed on the basis that both companies were involved in new-build residential properties, which are zero rated for VAT purposes. This meant that any standard rated VAT costs incurred could be reclaimed. In fact, the only building work was to an unfinished property near Canterbury and extensive renovation of his home in Broadstairs, which he has since left. The other claims were made up to receive VAT repayments illegally.
Investigations into Harrison’s claims soon uncovered fake invoices, and falsified documents purporting to be from legitimate suppliers. He also reclaimed VAT on bills he had not paid. It is thought that some of the money Harrison fraudulently obtained was used to purchase an apartment in Russia.
Confiscation proceedings are in place to reclaim proceeds of the crime from Harrison.