A conman from South Yorkshire falsely reclaimed VAT by setting up fake companies, allowing him to live a life of luxury . . .
The VAT fraudster has now been jailed for over three years.
Patrick Nelis, 25, posed as a successful businessman after he set up a web of false companies which he alleged traded in rebated fuels such as red diesel and Liquid Petroleum Gas for which suppliers can reclaim VAT costs.
However, the companies were complete shams and were only used to create false fuel transactions purely for Nelis to exploit the VAT system.
The former salesman was caught out in September 2009 when checks revealed he had supplied fictitious invoices and receipts.
Officials then went to check with some of the firms he claimed to have done business with and were met with blank expressions as they had never even heard of Nelis.
Nelis registered RP Fuels and R&P Fuels to a property in Dinnington, ST Travel to a property in North Anston and CC Fuels Ltd to an address in Burton on Trent and in total stole £700,000 in VAT.
He admitted the massive VAT fraud at Leeds Crown Court and was handed a prison sentence of three years and four months.
HMRC’s Criminal Director for Criminal Investigation, Peter Hollier, said:
“This crime was motivated by greed. Nelis thought he had found a way to exploit the VAT system and tried to fool everyone into thinking his business was legitimate.
He even attempted to charm HMRC officers with tales of how successful his businesses were and reams of customer invoices.
Nelis kept fake records alleging daily deliveries of fuel and the supply of millions of litres of fuel to customers across the country.
He often used ‘front men’ in a bid to distance himself from the fraud but that proved to be pointless.
One accomplice, Craig Chamberlain, was awarded a 12 month sentence after pleading guilty to helping to falsify paperwork in order to illegally reclaim VAT for one of the fake companies.
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