VAT evader hid in wardrobe

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A London pensioner who hid in a wardrobe to avoid discovery by HMRC officers investigating a £500,000 VAT fraud has been jailed report Harris & Co accountants Northampton

Company director Michael Kelly made false VAT repayment claims of £548,817 over a six-year period between 2006 and 2012, of which £500,367 was paid.

Kelly claimed his company exported white goods and motor vehicles to Africa, but HMRC’s investigations revealed that his company, International Trade Centre (UK) Ltd of Dulwich, made only six small-scale exports in four years.

Kelly denied VAT fraud, but was found guilty after a three week trial at the Old Bailey earlier this month. He has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison and disqualified from being a company director for six years.

David Margree, assistant director, HMRC, said: ‘Michael Kelly was brazen in his attempts to obtain huge sums of money by fraud. He was less forthcoming, however, when our officers arrived to search his home. He was found hiding in a wardrobe in a vain attempt to avoid detection. Our enquiries revealed that Kelly had persistently submitted utterly fraudulent VAT repayment claims.’

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