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Man jailed for £1.9m VAT fraud

The proceeds of a £1.9 million VAT fraud scheme funded the purchase of several properties in Spain and one in the UK, the court heard before sentencing the scammer to five-and-a-half years in jail.

Man jailed for £1.9m VAT fraud
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  • Juliet Helmke
  • August 05, 2021
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A man who was found guilty of VAT fraud totalling nearly £1.9 million has received a sentence of five-and-a-half years in jail.

Spending the stolen gains on a lavish lifestyle that included the purchase of several properties, the 69-year-old man, who has been identified as Graham Drury of Strathalyn in Rossett, Wexham, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Tuesday.

The claims were made through Drury’s company, Drury Machine Sales Ltd, to cover VAT payments made on machinery that was never purchased. The fraudulent returns were submitted between July 2014 and August 2017.

Suspicions were first raised by HMRC officers when records submitted to Companies House indicated Drury’s printing and packaging machinery business was making a profit, which differed from the information submitted in the fabricated VAT returns.

The exact total of his VAT fraud was £1,897,221.

Drury appears to have used the money to fund a number of property investments, including a house in the UK and three villas in Spain, where he regularly visited on holiday.

Andrea Thomas, senior crown prosecutor of the specialist fraud division of the Crown Prosecution Service, said, “Graham Drury is a prolific criminal who fraudulently claimed VAT repayments totalling £1.89 million, which could have been spent on key public services. Instead, Drury bought three Spanish properties, a UK property and spent £47,600 on jewellery.”

A confiscation order is still being pursued to recover the proceeds of the crime.

Steve Doyle, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said, “Drury stole vital taxpayers’ money to fund a lifestyle well beyond his means and now he is paying the price with a prison sentence. Our action does not stop here as we will work to recover this stolen money.”

Beyond the jail time, Drury’s sentence also disqualifies him from serving as a company director for 10 years.

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