VAT fraudster fails to pay back £3.2 million
PUBLISHED: 16:23 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 09:40 12 August 2010
A FRAUDSTER involved in a £12 million VAT scam has not repaid a penny of the £3.2 million he was ordered to. Raymond May, 53, from
A FRAUDSTER involved in a £12 million VAT scam has not repaid a penny of the £3.2 million he was ordered to.
Raymond May, 53, from Chislehurst, was supposed to pay back the money within three years of a 2003 court order after he was convicted for his part in a racket in 2002.
May, who owns a £2.5 million house in Bromley but claims to be a gardener and odd-jobs man, was handed a five-year sentence for his part in a swindle which involved selling high-value computer chips to companies.
He has persistently appealed against the order to recover the proceeds of his crime, made by government agency the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO).
His final appeal was dismissed by the House of Lords on June 2 last year. It has been reported that £155,000 has been repaid but only by a third party.
The RCPO claimed the delay in recouping the money was caused by third party claims to some of the assets it wanted to seize.
An RCPO spokesperson said: "The involvement of these third parties greatly complicated the application and forced a trial. That trial could not take place until May 2009.
"We were able to settle one claim before the trial started. We settled two more at the start of the trial, and we successfully defeated the fourth. But judgment was not handed down until 22 July 2009."
May was told when he was sentenced that he would receive a further five years in jail if he defaulted on paying what he owed.
The RCPO spokesperson added: "We are asking the magistrates court to activate his default sentence and a hearing has been fixed for September 29. We took this action as soon as it became open to us.
"At no stage have we done anything other than act swiftly to preserve Mr May's assets and then to enforce payment of the order."
But May's original prosecuting lawyer criticised the length of time it has taken to recoup any money.
Oliver Sells QC told reporters: "It is a signal failure that so little has yet been recovered from a confiscation order which has been upheld by the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.
"It is obviously in the public interest that orders should be enforced in good time.
"Failure to do so will risk conveying to convicted criminals the message that protracted delay will diminish the prospect of recovery.
"That in turn may weaken the effectiveness of the law in other cases.