A tax thief and money launderer has been landed with a bill for £615,000, which he must pay or face extra time in jail.
Raymond Thomas was jailed for four years in November 2017, after an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation found he had stolen £1.6 million.
In an attempt to hide his crime, Thomas told family and friends he was a spy and often worked abroad.
In reality, he was travelling to holiday homes funded by his fraud in Berlin, Kefalonia and Perpignan with his wife, who helped to launder the money.
He claimed he ran a business called Cambridge Computer Graphics (CCG), which made aviation radar systems and worked for the US Departments of Defence and Homeland Security.
However, HMRC found the business was a sham and that he had created a string of false invoices to support fraudulent VAT refund claims between 2008 and 2013.
The crime was uncovered after the taxman found discrepancies following a claim for £98,000.
Thomas said his work for the US meant he had to destroy paperwork but a forensic investigation, which included checks with the US departments and other alleged suppliers, revealed that the invoices had been forged.
Speaking outside court, a spokesman for HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said that Thomas had lived a life of luxury funded by taxpayers, but this was ended by the successful investigation and subsequent prosecution. It meant that not only was he jailed but now faces a further five years behind bars if he does not pay his bill.
Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “This was a complex and sophisticated fraud where the offender even lied to his own family to hide his actions.
“The fraud allowed Mr Thomas to live a luxurious lifestyle but the Proceeds of Crime legislation means that he now has to show where the money went and how he acquired any assets he now holds. The rules impose a presumption that he will have substantial hidden assets and that those he has disclosed will have been funded from ill-gotten gains. The burden of proof is on him to show that this is not the case and if he cannot do so, his gaol term will be extended.”