Two fraudsters who set up construction companies solely to claim more than £500,000 tax back on supplies for new build houses that were never built, have been sentenced to two years in jail.
Timothy Bentley, 62, from Cheshire and his son James Bentley, 35, from Sutton Coldfield pleaded guilty to making a series of fraudulent VAT repayment claims over three years.
A third man, Salim Rahman, 30, from Stoke on Trent, got a suspended 10-month sentence after admitting money laundering offences.
An HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigation found that the Bentleys had set up two companies: J Bentley Construction Ltd and Warwickshire Engineering Supplies Ltd and had operated Buildtech Construction 33 Ltd. The investigation revealed that between August 2009 and December 2012 the pair made 15 VAT repayment claims totalling £515,721.56.
The investigation also uncovered a bank account for Buildtech Construction Ltd, set up by the company director, Salim Rahman, used to cash the fraudulent repayment cheques.
HMRC assistant director Richard Young said: “Timothy and James Bentley had set up and operated these construction companies for no other reason than to fraudulently claim back VAT paid on building materials. Our investigations showed that the invoices the defendants provided to us were bogus – there were never any construction supplies and never any new build houses.”