Property developer jailed for £25m VAT fraud

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.

£2 million VAT fraud brothers jailed

Two brothers, who stole more than £1.6m through tax fraud and by stealing from their employees to finance their luxury lifestyles, have been jailed at Croydon Crown Court today for six years, following a complex investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Haris and Adam Mukhtar, from Ilford, made £1.3m worth of fake VAT claims for various bogus companies, from chauffeuring to importing rice. Haris Mukhtar also told 200 of his own staff that £330,000 cash taken from their debit and credit cards was for national insurance and tax payments; Haris, described in court by the judge as “thoroughly dishonest” and “totally bent”, pocketed some of the cash for himself. HMRC specialist investigators prevented a further £320,000 being paid in other fraudulent VAT claims.

Haris and Adam bought themselves Lamborghinis and a hand-built Mercedes McLaren with their ill-gotten cash. The brothers, who shared a home, filled it with high-spec televisions, buying one for every room in the house.

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

“Criminals such as this are menaces who steal from honest taxpayers. HMRC is cracking down on fraud and the Government has made a further £900 million available to us for tackling evasion, avoidance and attacks by criminal gangs.”

Confiscation proceedings against both brothers are ongoing.