Fraudster faked dementia to delay £550k tax scam trial

PUBLISHED: 12:30 09 July 2012

Lorraine Jones. Photo supplied by HMRC

Lorraine Jones. Photo supplied by HMRC

HMRC

A MILLIONAIRE, who pretended to have dementia to delay his fraud trial, has been jailed for a 'breathtaking' £550,000 tax evasion scam.

Samuel Jones, aged 53, was jailed at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday after cheating the Government of more than half a million pounds by setting up businesses and bank accounts using fake names over a 10-year period.

Jones had denied one count of national insurance and income tax evasion, as well as failing to register a business as VAT paying and failing to send off VAT returns, but was found guilty last month. He was given four years for each offence, which he will serve concurrently.

His wife Lorraine, aged 47, was jailed for three-and-a-half year for the same offences after changing her plea to guilty at the start of the trial.

The couple built up a £1.6million property portfolio in Weston and Bridgwater, invested £1.4million in bank accounts, purchased Porsches, Range Rovers and Mercedes cars.

They denied running the accused tarmac business and claimed the money was gained through inheritance and gambling.

The couple, of Battleborough Lane, Brent Knoll, owe HM Revenue & Custom (HMRC) a total of £552,952.87 following their scam between April 1998 and November 2008, when they were arrested.

Judge Martin Picton said: “This was an exercise in tax evasion, it persisted for a decade, was breathtaking and wholly deliberate, deeply dishonest and carefully thought through with one objective to evade tax.”

HMRC investigations revealed the couple used over 80 bank accounts to launder their business funds, including their three children’s bank accounts and accounts in the false name of John Pope, an alias used by Samuel Jones.

A confiscation timetable has been set down by the court to reclaim the proceeds of their crimes.

* For more details see this week’s Mercury

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