Brit father and son VAT fraudsters captured in Spain

Published:  25 May at 6 PM
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A recently arrived British father and son have been arrested in their villa near Benidorm for a one million VAT fraud.

Benidorm was the chosen expat refuge for Brian Colwell and his son Jamie, just as it has been for decades for criminals fleeing the long arm of British justice, but the unsavoury pair have now been hauled back to the UK to begin their prison sentences. The pair were finally tracked down to their villa outside the favourite Spanish beach resort by investigators from HM Revenue and Customs after they’d breached their bail terms and fled the UK, heading for Spain via France.

The crafty pair and Jamie’s former partner Briony James had devised a plan taking advantage of a scheme which allows VAT clawback on the construction of new-build homes. The crooks claimed to have spent some £14 million on the houses, claiming back VAT repayments totalling almost a million pounds. When the claim was investigated by HMRC, not one single house had been built and the perpetrators had fled the country to avoid arrest.

The two men had travelled separately, with Brian taking a ferry from Portsmouth to Caen, whilst Jamie had taken a flight to northern France. Meeting up, they then crossed the border into Spain and made their way to the Costa Blanca, hoping they’d be able to avoid prison in the UK and be free to fund their new lives with their ill-gotten gains. After their arrest by Guardia Civil officers, they spent eight days in jail and were transported back to the UK earlier this week. They’re now starting their prison sentences and confiscation of their assets is proceeding.
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