Broadstairs builder Wayne Harrison fiddled books to scam £800k
by Paul Hooper
A Kent builder scammed more than £800,000 by fiddling his VAT
returns – to keep his ailing businesses afloat.
Three-times-married Wayne Harrison, 52, ran two multi-million
pound firms involved in new-builds in Thanet, Canterbury and others
parts of the south east.
But the devious boss – who now claims he is a penniless bankrupt
– faked receipts and fiddled the books in an effort to beat a VAT
probe into his claims.
Canterbury Crown Court heard that when a VAT inspector went to
his home in Fitzroy Avenue, in Broadstairs, they discovered he
was building himself an extension.
Harrison tried to avoid an investigation by claiming his
bookkeeper had suffered a nervous breakdown and fled abroad.
But financial investigation revealed some of the money from
his bank accounts had been sent to Russia, said prosecutor William
Harrison was jailed for 30 months after admitting two charges of
cheating the public revenue of £812,250.
But his barrister Barry Gilbert told the
judge, recorder Alexander Milne QC: "He is no robber
baron. He was just struggling to keep his business afloat."
Harrison ran Weybridge Homes Limited, with registered offices in
The Broadway, in Broadstairs, and David Charles Homes Limited,
which was registered in Ashford before going bust in 2007.
"He was desperately trying to find a way out and he is a man who has worked hard all his life but he wasn't feathering his own nest...” – Barry Gilbert, defending
The prosecutor said: "Harrison was the controlling entity of two
building companies which he set up. In 2004, he was declared
bankrupt after the winding up of David Charles Homes Ltd.
"Weybridge Homes was registered for VAT in 2005. Both companies
were involved in building new residential homes which are
zero-rated for VAT."
He said it meant Harrison could claim back VAT for his materials
and supply costs – but he claimed that neither company ever sold a
But the cheating builder said in his tax returns he had
spent £3,333,000 gross and issued a claim for VAT repayment of
For Weybridge, he claimed he had spent nearly £6million gross
and put in a claim for £750,166, although that was later "adjusted
down", the court heard.
When the investigation was launched into his bogus returns in
July 2009, Harrison was working from his home in Broadstairs –
where he was building an extension.
Builder Wayne Harrison
was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court
Mr Hughes added: "Harrison maintained that his bookkeeper
had suffered a nervous breakdown and had left the country. His
records were woeful and he eventually submitted false
Two of the areas that he said he was building were homes in
Calcott Hill, in Sturry, and opposite Broadstairs Cricket Club.
Harrison then submitted receipts and spreadsheets from 10
companies in support of his VAT claims.
However, when investigators spoke to suppliers they discovered
not only were some fake – but he owed money to a number of them for
Mr Gilbert, defending, said Harrison had not set out to defraud
the public but his companies "hit the skids and he went down the
wrong road and beefed up his VAT clams".
He added: "He was desperately trying to find a way out and he is
a man who has worked hard all his life but he wasn't feathering his
Harrison was also banned from being a company director for five
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