Tax cheats jailed for phantom house building scam

Grant Prior 6 years ago
Share

Three tax fraudsters have been sentenced to a total of nearly 10 years in prison – two in their absence after they absconded – for their role in stealing almost £1m in VAT repayments for building houses that never existed.

Jamie Colwell was sentenced to five years and three months
Jamie Colwell was sentenced to five years and three months

Sandbanks resident Jamie Colwell, 51, his father Brian Colwell, 74, of Bournemouth, and Jamie’s former partner Briony James, 45, of Salisbury, claimed to have spent £14m building new houses.

But a HM Revenue and Customs investigation revealed not a single brick had been laid.

Ringleader Jamie Colwell set up Robert Lloyd Properties Ltd and Belgravia Construction Services (South) Ltd to carry out the VAT fraud.

His father, a retired builder, was a director of both companies, while Jamie’s former partner was a director of Robert Lloyd Properties.

Jamie Colwell also pretended to be another director Martin Johnstone.

They used the two businesses to fraudulently claim VAT repayments totalling £965,897 between February 2009 and May 2015.

Investigations revealed the companies’ bank accounts were simply used to fund the criminals’ lifestyles.

At Bournemouth Crown Court Jamie Colwell was sentenced to five years and three months imprisonment, Brian Colwell was jailed for 32 months and Briony James was given a 20 month sentence behind bars.

Both Jamie and Brian Colwell absconded and were sentenced in their absence. Warrants have been issued for their arrest.

Richard Wilkinson, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “These criminals set up sham companies solely to pocket public money to fund their lifestyles, blatantly stealing almost £1 million from the public services we all rely on.

“HMRC will continue to pursue those criminals who attack the tax system, and look to recover the proceeds of their crimes from current and future wealth.”

The fraud was discovered by HMRC’s VAT Repayment Taskforce which carried out checks on the businesses.

No credible evidence of any property sales was provided to HMRC and a criminal investigation revealed the scale of the fraud.

Jamie Colwell used £113,000 of the fraudulent funds to rent a Sandbanks property and pay household expenses.

He spent another £64,000 on cars including a pre-owned Porsche 911, which he has since sold. He also owned a speedboat.

Briony James and Brian Colwell

His father used the money to rent a four-bedroom Bournemouth home and on general good living. Briony James, a former equestrian and dressage competitor, spent more than £100,000 of the criminal funds on stabling her horses, £40,000 on designer clothing and shopping, and £38,000 on cars including a Mercedes.

Jamie Colwell pleaded guilty to the full fraud of £965,897. Brian Colwell admitted defrauding £178,487 relating to Belgravia Construction Services (South) Ltd, and Briony James admitted defrauding £316,335 as Robert Lloyd Properties Ltd.

Latest news

McAlpine pulls out of £55m Carlisle Citadels project

University of Cumbria starts hunt for replacement contractor
3 days ago

Strabag UK suffers further big trading loss

Austrian contractor is gearing up for major presence in the UK market
2 days ago

Durham Uni picks UPP for £130m student scheme

Firm will deliver 1,000 self-catered bed spaces
2 days ago

Architects now upbeat after 10-months of work gloom

Larger practices see rising workloads in next three months
2 days ago

Motorist dies after collision with road paver

Police Scotland investigating fatal crash
3 days ago

McLaren Living appoints HG Construction for £69m scheme

Build to Rent scheme will transform former vacant car park site in Leeds city centre
3 days ago

Squibb liquidator probes £2m of “missing” plant

Machinery, cars and scrap metal have disappeared at demolition specialist
3 days ago

Galliford Try to re-enter affordable homes market

Contractor sets out new five-year plan to build margin to 4%
3 days ago

Former Sellar chief to lead civils contractor Kilnbridge

Owen Dannatt joins as new CEO as founder Dermot McDermott becomes Chairman
3 days ago

Hunt starts for nuclear fusion plant construction partner

Fusion energy plant to be built at West Burton coal power station site.
3 days ago

National Grid raises £7bn for big infrastructure upgrade

Rights issue to fund a major round of capital investment in energy infrastructure
3 days ago

Grenfell police probe to last at least until end of 2025

19 companies and 58 individuals could eventually face charges
3 days ago

Mace confirmed on £100m London office retrofit

Work underway on Helical's 100 New Bridge Street job near Ludgate Circus
4 days ago

Wylfa chosen for next big nuclear power station build

Government names Anglesey site for a large-scale gigawatt nuclear power plant.
4 days ago

Bowmer & Kirkland trading profit halves

Contractor buys HVAC specialist Adcock despite challenging market
4 days ago

Piling specialist Van Elle plans further job cuts

Piling specialist plans further cost savings in face of lower demand
4 days ago

Civils contractor A Catlow files administration notice

High voltage cable specialist lodges court notice
4 days ago

Green light for ARC Oxford lab campus

Work to start later this year on £40m Ascent building job
4 days ago

Stonehenge tunnel hit by another legal delay

Court upholds latest appeal against £1.7bn scheme by campaigners
5 days ago

Plans go in for huge Olympic Park construction hub

Bow Goods Yard could deliver 3.5m tonnes of materials a year to sites across London
5 days ago

40% affordable homes target for Labour’s new towns

Labour pledges to select new town sites by end of first year
5 days ago

Plan for £100m Liverpool Baltic station

Construction work could begin next year
5 days ago

Surgo Construction went down owing £4.5m

Biggest creditor is Bellway Homes after dispute on housing job
5 days ago

Vistry seals £157m West London housing deal

Around 575 homes to be built at Merrick Place scheme in Ealing
5 days ago

Streamlined Watkin Jones returns to profit in first half

Multi-room specialist sees secured work pipeline hit £1.4bn
5 days ago

Bellway hires ex-brickie as group construction chief

James Griffin to oversee move to the Future Homes Standard and timber frame.
5 days ago

Persimmon under fire for delays to £10m relief road

West Suffolk Council serves Breach of Condition Notices after timetable slips again
5 days ago

BAM wins £33m Kent secondary school job

Replacement Swanley academy to be built at live school site
5 days ago

Aluminium cladding specialist collapses

Melton Mowbray-based firm worked for several main contractors
6 days ago

Brickwork contractor Lee Marley returns to profit

Affordable and rental homes demand lifts brickwork contractor
6 days ago

Contractor services