South Yorkshire VAT fraudster must pay £100k

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A South Yorkshire fraudster who gambled millions of pounds and lived a life of luxury after setting up fake companies to falsely reclaim VAT has been told to repay £100,000 or face more time in jail.

Patrick Nelis led the life of a successful businessman after setting up fictitious companies which he claimed traded in rebated fuels such as red diesel and Liquid Petroleum gas, for which suppliers can reclaim VAT costs.

But the businesses were a sham, used to create ghost fuel transactions so Nelis could exploit the VAT system.

The 25-year-old former salesman was jailed for three years and four months at Leeds Crown Court in 2011 after admitting a £700,000 fraud.

This week he appeared in court by videolink for a confiscation hearing at which a judge found Nelis had benefited from his crimes to the tune of £566,987.74.

His realiseable assets were agreed at £100,000 which he was ordered to pay within six months or face a further nine months in prison.

The court heard he was caught by HM Revenue and Customs in September 2009 when checks revealed he had supplied fake invoices and receipts.

When officials checked with some of the firms he claimed to have dealt with, they had never heard of him.

Nelis of Sanders Way, Dinnington, Sheffield, registered RP Fuels and R & P Fuels to a property on Redwall Close, Dinnington; ST Travel to an address in North Anston and CC Fuels Ltd to premises in Burton on Trent.

He kept fake records which alleged daily deliveries of fuel and supply of millions of litres to customers across the UK, using front men to run the companies on his behalf in an effort to distance himself from the fraud.