Dorset

Dorset fraudsters recaptured after £1m tax scam

Brian (left) and Jamie Colwell Image copyright HMRC
Image caption Brian Colwell (left) and his son Jamie were arrested at a villa near Benidorm

A father and son who fraudulently claimed almost £1m in VAT rebates have been recaptured after fleeing to Spain.

Brian Colwell, 76, and his son Jamie, 51, were sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court in their absence in January.

"Ringleader" Colwell Jr, formerly of Sandbanks, Dorset, was jailed for five years and three months, while his father, from Bournemouth, was given a term of two years and eight months.

The pair will be sentenced at a later date for breach of bail.

'Good living'

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said Colwell Jr set up "sham" property companies, claiming £965,897 in tax rebates for new houses which were never built.

He used some of the money to rent a home in Old Coastguard Road, Sandbanks, and to buy cars including a Porsche 911, HMRC said.

His father, who was a director of the two firms, enjoyed "good living" in a four-bedroom rented home in Hares Green, Bournemouth.

The pair were jailed in January along with Colwell Jr's partner Briony James, 45, of Bouverie Avenue South, Salisbury, who was given a 20-month term.

Colwell Jr and James had previously admitted a VAT fraud charge while Colwell Sr pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property.

The fugitives were arrested at a villa near Benidorm on 9 May.

Richard Wilkinson, of HMRC's fraud investigation service, said: "The Colwells thought they could evade prison and use their criminal cash to fund a new life on the Costa Blanca.

"We will pursue those criminals who blatantly steal from the public services we all rely on, and look to recover the proceeds of their crimes from current and future wealth."

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