UK Government

HM Revenue & Customs (London): Property developer jailed for £25m VAT fraud

Press Release   •   Feb 04, 2011 11:33 GMT

A Middlesex man who evaded £25m in tax by submitting false VAT repayment claims for 15 different companies has been jailed for eight and a half years after an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Charles Victor Scarrott (61) who was the sole director of 15 property development companies, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of cheating the revenue at Kingston Crown Court and was sentenced to eight and a half years on each of the counts to run concurrently.

The investigation uncovered evidence that between 2003 and 2008, Scarrott submitted 178 fraudulent repayment claims totalling more than £25m. He provided false purchase invoices, bank statements and other business records to support the claims and used the proceeds of his crime to purchase luxury items which included:

  • £1m penthouse in Teddington, Middlesex
  • £500,000 holiday home in Dorset
  • Flats for his two children
  • £36,000 attending sporting events
  • £42,000 on private school fees
  • £40,000 on dental work
  • Over £80,000 on holidays
  • Maserati luxury car

When passing sentence, His Honour Judge Hopmeir said: “You played with high stakes, you have now lost and must pay the price. Those that cheat the Revenue cause direct and indirect damage to the community. Those that pay their taxes are effectively victims of those like you that cheat the system. As a result of careful and conscientious work by customs officers, your fraud has been detected.”

John Cooper, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC said:

“Scarrott stole from the pockets of innocent people and deprived the nation of vital funds needed for public services whilst funding his own extravagant lifestyle by claiming fraudulent VAT refunds. The sentence Scarrott received yesterday will act as a deterrent to anyone considering carrying out this type of crime. HMRC investigators will look to recover the profits made from these illegal activities.”

Confiscation of assets is being sought.

Notes to editors

1. Charles Victor Scarrott, date of birth: 27 August 1949 of Fairmile House, 30 Twickenham Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, was a director of 15 property development companies.

2. He was sentenced to eight and a half years for each of the 15 counts to run concurrently at Kingston Crown Court on 1 February 2011 and disqualified from being a company director for 11 years.

3. He pleaded guilty to 15 counts of cheating the Revenue contrary to Common Law under Section 72 (3) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 at Kingston Crown Court on 31 January 2011.

4. Confiscation of assets is being sought.

5. Anyone with information about this type of criminal activity is urged to contact Customs Hotline 0800 59 5000 or email customs.hotline@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

6. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk.

LON 07/11

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

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