A Luton businessman, who provided bus services for vulnerable people, has been ordered to pay back more than £156,000 he stole through a tax fraud, or face a further five years in prison.
James Taylor, of Wardown Crescent, Luton, who had a long-standing transport contract with a local authority, deliberately wound-up nine companies to avoid paying vast sums of PAYE and VAT due to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Taylor used the stolen money to help fund a holiday home in Devon, rent sports cars including a Bentley Continental GT, and quickly pay off a big mortgage.
However, it all unravelled in 2013 when HMRC investigators unearthed the full extent of his fraud.
The 68-year-old admitted the fraudulent evasion of VAT and income tax and was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment at Luton Crown Court on 5 August 2016.
On Friday 9 December 2016 he was served with a confiscation order at the same court and must repay the six-figure sum within three months or see his stay behind bars extended.
Kevin Newe, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Our work does not stop at sentencing and Taylor’s fraudulently-funded affluent lifestyle of fast cars, houses and holidays are well and truly over.
“Now he’s being stripped of his home and all his assets. If we unearth more, we’ll go after that as well.The message is clear – tax fraud doesn’t pay.
“Anyone with information of those committing tax fraud can contact our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
When Taylor shut a company down, he diverted money owed to HMRC into his personal bank accounts before starting up a new one.
“The local authority was totally unaware it had been dealing with more than one company, as he used the same trading name, Taylors Transport Services, throughout the scam.