South Yorkshire tax scam pair lived high life on proceeds of crime

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A SOUTH Yorkshire couple took part in a ‘massive’ VAT fraud totalling £600,000 then laundered the cash through their personal accounts to fund a lavish two-year spending spree, a court heard.

Craig Taylor, aged 43, was jailed for two years at Sheffield Crown Court after admitting tax evasion and concealing proceeds of crime, while his wife Tracy, 42, given a 12 month suspended sentence for also pleading guilty to concealing proceeds of crime.

The couple were prosecuted after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs officials which found that Craig Taylor continued to re-claim VAT even though the couple’s building firm, Avalon Construction, went bust in the summer of 2009.

When investigating officials called at their home at Carr House Court, Wortley, the court heard Craig Taylor hid in an en-suite bathroom in an attempt to avoid them.

After the sentencing by Judge Simon Lawler QC, HMRC’s assistant director for criminal investigation, Peter Hollier, said: “Craig and Tracy Taylor ran a construction business for a number of years, but when it began to fail they started to line their own pockets with the proceeds of an illegal VAT repayments fraud.

“The pair used the money to fund a two-year luxury spending spree.”

The court heard the Taylors bought expensive cars and motorbikes, took numerous luxury holidays, and bought designer jewellery and handbags. The pair even paid someone to walk their dog.