A convicted VAT fraudster has been sentenced to a further eight years in jail for failing to repay a £26m confiscation order.
Craig Johnson was originally convicted of a £20m ‘missing trader' VAT fraud in 2006 and was set to be released early next month despite a 12.5 year jail term.
However, he has so far only paid around £4m of the confiscation order having been forced to sell assets including his stately home Meaford Hall in Staffordshire, three further UK properties, performance vehicles - including a Bentley and a Ferrari - Rolex watches and diamond jewellery.
Robert Alder, assistant director for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), says: "This will send the strongest message yet to criminals that even in prison they cannot hide from our actions to reclaim their criminal profits.
"We are determined that this money will be restored to the nation's finances in what is one of the largest confiscation order ever secured in the UK."
Johnson led a serious organised crime gang which stole millions from the taxpayer in a complex ‘missing trader' VAT fraud. Subsequent investigations resulted in 21 serious career criminals receiving jail sentences totalling 133 years for their part in a £138m fraud.
The fraud involved the importing and exporting of mobile phones from various EU countries through a chain of companies, with the gang claiming VAT credit from HMRC for the VAT paid on the purchase of the goods which often never even existed.
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