‘Jackal’ conman is jailed for tax fraud

A conman, who has been dubbed a “hardened fraudster” has been jailed for tax fraud.

In his latest scam, Philip Ryle was discovered to have defrauded HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) of £350,000 by pretending to sell rare stamps at hugely inflated prices.

The conman, from Weston Super Mare, used a complex series of cash transfers and VAT claims, using a number of companies he had set up for the purpose, to make the fake trades.

HMRC tax investigators discovered that Ryle ‘sold’ the stamps from one of his companies to another for up to 800 per cent of their true value. The second company would reclaim the VAT while the first company would not pay the VAT owed on the sale.

At Bristol Crown Court, Ryle was convicted of tax fraud and was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison. HMRC have now commenced confiscation proceedings to recover the stolen money.

This is not the first time that Ryle has been convicted of fraud. In 2002, he was jailed for five years for his part in in a passport scam. Using the identities of 37 dead British babies, he obtained false passports which were then sold to criminals and illegal immigrants, copying a plotline from Frederick Forsyth’s 1971 novel ‘The Day of the Jackal’.

Following this latest conviction, Richard Wilkinson, Assistant Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Ryle is a hardened fraudster who has no problem with lying, cheating and manipulating others to make money.”

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a Director and Head of Salhan Accountants’ taxation investigation advice team, said: “As this case illustrates, HMRC have wide-ranging powers to investigate tax breaches, with deliberate tax fraud leading to a criminal prosecution.

“Of course, only a minority of individuals intentionally set out to defraud HMRC. However, many restaurant owners may find they are under the spotlight, having unwittingly broken HMRC’s tax rules.

“At Salhan Accountants, we work extremely hard for clients subjected to a taxation investigation. We not only clarify the issues and the process, but come up with positive solutions too.”

For more information about our accountancy and VAT services, please contact us.