Sydenham fraudster jailed after hiding in wardrobe from HMRC officers
PUBLISHED: 14:36 17 January 2014 | UPDATED: 14:44 17 January 2014
A VAT fraudster who hid in a wardrobe to avoid HM Revenue and Customs officers has been jailed.
Michael Kelly, 73, of Kangley Bridge Road, Sydenham, made false VAT repayment claims of more than £500,000 during a sex-year period - claiming his company exported white goods and motor vehicles to Africa.
Genuine transactions would have resulted in a VAT refund, but investigations revealed that his company, International Trade Centre (UK) Ltd of Dulwich, made only six small-scale exports in four years.
Kelly denied the fraud, but was found guilty after a three week trial. He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison at the Old Bailey today, and disqualified from being a company director for six years.
David Margree, assistant director of 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. We will continue to investigate fully and take the strongest possible action against those who defraud HMRC and law abiding individuals.”