Fraudster jailed after £350k tax scam exposed

Philip Ryle was jailed for three years and eight months. Picture: HMRC

Philip Ryle was jailed for three years and eight months. Picture: HMRC - Credit: HMRC

A serial liar, who once used dozens of dead babies’ identities to create fake passports to make money, has been jailed for another scam worth approximately £350,000.

Philip Ryle, who lives in Weston-super-Mare, was sent to prison again on Friday for his latest criminal venture.

The 58-year-old embarked on a VAT scam by selling rare stamps between businesses he owned.

The HMRC described Ryle as a ‘hardened fraudster’ who was happy to ‘manipulate’ people to make himself rich.

Ryle was jailed for five years in 2002 for his role in a scam which saw the identities of 37 dead babies used to obtain false passports for illegal immigrants, copying a plot from Frederick Forsyth’s novel, The Day Of The Jackal.

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His latest con saw him net hundreds of thousands of pounds through the rare stamps market.

HMRC says Ryle created an ‘intricate web of cash transfers and VAT claims’ to make himself money.

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Ryle, who was previously convicted under the name Philip Ryall, was the director of five companies and three of them were struck off owing more than £695,000 in unpaid VAT.

He used one of these – Rare Stamps Associates Ltd – to purchase hundreds of stamps from outside of the EU, and sell them at 800 per cent of their true value to another of his companies, UK Philatelics Ltd.

He then sold the stamps for their genuine market value to overseas buyers mainly in the US.

Ryle, of Dovetail Drive, did not pay the VAT for the sales made by Rare Stamps Associates, but still claimed more than £300,000 in VAT repayments for UK Philatelics. He attempted to claim another £90,000, but HMRC refused.

Rare Stamps Associates Ltd was wound up by Ryle in August 2014 but he then set up a third company – P.E. Philatelic Exports Cyprus Limited – to carry on the fraud.

Richard Wilkinson, assistant director for HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “Ryle is a hardened fraudster who has no problem with lying, cheating and manipulating others to make money.

“He thought his stamp-dealing scam was clever enough to slip through the net, but our investigators ensured justice was delivered.”

Ryle was jailed for three years and eight months at Bristol Crown Court last week after admitting cheating the public revenue. The HMRC has begun proceedings to recover its loses.

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