Jailed ‘spy’ must repay £616k tax bill

A Norfolk tax fraudster, who claimed he was a spy in an attempt to cover his tracks, has been ordered to pay £615,000 or face a further five years behind bars

Raymond Thomas, 73, was jailed for four years and eight months in November 2017, after an HMRC investigation found he had stolen £1.6m.

In an attempt to hide his crime, Thomas told family and friends he was a spy and often worked abroad. In reality, he was travelling to holiday homes funded by his fraud in Berlin, Kefalonia and Perpignan with his wife, Susan Weston, 70, who helped to launder the money.

On Monday 24 June at Manchester Crown Court, Thomas was ordered to pay back £616,551 and Weston £439,551 within three months. They will receive default prison sentences and if they do not pay, Thomas will go to prison for five years and Weston for four years.

Even if a default sentence is served the order for repayment remains and the money is still owed.

Thomas was originally sentenced in November 2017 to a four-year, eight-month prison sentence at Manchester Crown Court for fraud involving false VAT returns and faking invoices to reclaim VAT payments. His wife, Weston, was given a 12-month suspended sentence for money laundering charges.

Martin Lynagh, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: ‘Thomas lived a life of luxury funded by taxpayers, but we put an end to that. Not only has he been jailed, but he will now have to sell assets to repay the stolen money.

‘We will continue to pursue those involved in tax fraud and money laundering and urge anyone with information about these types of crimes to report it to us online, or contact our fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.’

Sara White

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