Ross Elliott, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, has now been jailed for three years after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.
Elliott claimed that between January 2008 and October 2010 he was working as an electrical contractor for a number of large building companies.
He submitted hundreds of purchase invoices to reclaim VAT, but HMRC investigators discovered that these were false and that Elliott had not been contracted to carry out work nor had he purchased electrical supplies.
In addition, he submitted fictitious sales invoices alleging he had carried out work for private homeowners. When questioned they had never heard of him.
Mike O’Grady, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said: “Elliott stole this substantial sum of money purely to line his own pockets.
“His abuse of the VAT repayment system was carried out over a sustained period of time and involved a high degree of planning. Our evidence showed he had little or no lawful trade since 2007.”
On sentencing, His Honour Judge Styler said: “This is a serious matter. You have defrauded HMRC of £370,000, a sizeable sum of money, over two and a half years.
“The paperwork required detailed forgery of documents, itemised electrical equipment, fictional purchases and contracts, showing considerable professionalism. The amount and the period were substantial and involved a high degree of planning and sophistication.”