A West Midlands builder who set up multiple fake companies to commit a £96,000 VAT fraud, and left some of his customers with unfinished work, has been sentenced to 16 months in jail following an HMRC investigation.
Self-employed Carl Williams claimed more than £52,000 in VAT repayments from 2007 to 2012, when trading as CA Williams and CJW Builders. He under-declared his earnings and over-declared his purchases in returns he submitted to HMRC.
When the returns were queried, Williams provided HMRC with fake paperwork to support his claims. Then, in 2011, he set up five bogus limited companies - Champix, Lilabe, Torque Mac, Non Impact and Reccard – and used these to claim a further £44,000 in VAT repayments
Williams had admitted six counts of VAT fraud at a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court in March and returned to court for sentencing this week.
HMRC officers who interviewed some of Williams’ customers were told of extremely poor workmanship and jobs left unfinished. In the worst case, a couple had paid more than £90,000 for house renovations, only for Williams to down tools after completing a third of the work. The property was left uninhabitable.
Colin Booker, HMRC assistant director, criminal investigations, said: ‘Carl Williams’ criminal activity has allowed him to rip off law-abiding taxpayers. The vast majority of us pay what is due, when it is due. HMRC will not tolerate tax fraud and we make it our priority to investigate those we suspect of operating above the law.’