Fraudster who funded Spanish villas with stolen £1.9 million is jailed

A fraudster who stole nearly £1.9 million of taxpayers’ money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including buying three Spanish villas, has been jailed for five-and-a-half years.

Graham Drury has been jailed
Graham Drury has been jailed

Graham Drury, 69, of Strathalyn, Rossett, Wrexham, stole almost £1.9m by submitting fraudulent VAT returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The claims were made through his company, Drury Machine Sales Ltd, to cover VAT payments made on machinery that was never purchased.

Drury used the stolen money to buy several properties; one in the UK and three villas in Spain which he regularly visited on holiday.

Drury was arrested on January 13, 2019, and subsequently charged with VAT fraud totalling £1,897,221.

Steve Doyle, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Drury stole vital taxpayers’ money to fund a lifestyle well beyond his means and now he is paying the price with a prison sentence. Our action does not stop here as we will work to recover this stolen money.

“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime as it is stealing from the public purse, which helps fund services like the NHS. We encourage anyone with information about VAT fraud to report it online or call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Suspicions were first raised by HMRC officers when Companies House records showed Drury’s printing and packaging machinery business was making a profit, as this did not match the information submitted in fabricated VAT returns.

Drury claimed to have bought machinery from businesses, but despite not receiving the goods, he would claim the VAT back from HMRC.

Drury pleaded guilty to VAT fraud at Mold Crown Court on August 2 and was sentenced to five-and-a-half years behind bars yesterday.

Confiscation proceedings are underway to recover the stolen money.

Andrea Thomas, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Graham Drury is a prolific criminal who fraudulently claimed VAT repayments totalling £1.89 million, which could have been spent on key public services. Instead, Drury bought three Spanish properties, a UK property and spent £47,600 on jewellery.

“In addition to a five-and-a-half-year jail sentence, a Confiscation Order is being pursued to recover the proceeds of crime.

“Drury has also been disqualified from acting as a company director for 10 years.”

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