A former builder from Hampshire, who falsely claimed £750,000 of VAT repayments to pay for gambling and living expenses, has been jailed for two years and eight months following an investigation by HMRC
Peter Howes pleaded guilty to the evasion of VAT at Portsmouth Crown Court. He had claimed he was working as a builder and was entitled to VAT repayments on his taxable purchases. But investigators found Howes had not been working and had simply made up the figures on his VAT returns.
Howes fraudulently claimed £750,602 under his former trading name of ‘P D Howes Building and Development’.
He received around £9,500 each month, and spent the money on gambling and his general lifestyle. HMRC withheld £19,875 of the money claimed while investigations took place.
Richard Wilkinson, assistant director, 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.’