Businessman, 83, jailed for five-year tax fraud worth almost £650,000

Derek Hole was sentenced last week. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Derek Hole was sentenced last week. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

A businessman who defrauded the taxman of more than £600,000 for years has been jailed.

Derek Hole spent more than five and a half years lying about VAT receipts in order to pocket huge sums of cash.

Hole claimed his company, Briar Building Ltd, was building new homes which are exempt from paying VAT.

But investigations by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) uncovered the 83-year-old was conducting illegal tax affairs.

Richard Wilkinson, assistant director for HMRC’s fraud investigation service said Hole lied to put himself first.

He added: “Hole lied so he could claim money he wasn’t entitled to.

“He manipulated a system which exists for the benefit of legitimate companies, individuals and charities with the sole purpose of cynically lining his own pockets.

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“He knew he was breaking the law, yet chose to overlook it for the opportunity of making what he wrongly assumed would be easy money, at the expense of the taxpayer.”

The tax manipulation ran from January 2012 to September 2017.

Hole, Briar’s sole director, illegally claimed refunds for the purchase of building supplies totalling £644,579.14.

When his fraudulent ways were discovered, Hole was arrested in March 2018.

Hole, who lives in Kingston Seymour, admitted one count of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT when he appeared in court in September.

He was back at Bristol Crown Court last week and on Thursday was jailed for two years and 10 months.

The HMRC wants people to contact them if they suspect someone of defrauding the taxman.

Mr Wilkinson added: “Anyone with information about this type of crime can report it to HMRC online, or call our fraud hotline on 0800 788887.”