Boat renovator jailed for £1.7m VAT scam

Southampton-based boat renovator Christopher Rogers has been given a five and a half-year jail sentence for tax fraud

A Southampton-based boat renovator has been jailed for claiming £1.7m in VAT repayments after his company had folded.

Christopher Rogers (pictured above) was a director and shareholder in MSC (Europe) Ltd, which changed its name to Akasia Ltd in May 2010 and ceased trading shortly afterwards.

However, the 50-year-old continued to claim VAT repayments to support his lavish lifestyle, including buying a Mercedes and a yacht, HM Revenue & Customs reports.

What’s more, Rogers had not paid any income tax on his £125,000 annual salary since 2008, meaning he personally owed the Revenue more than £63,000. He was finally arrested by HMRC in September 2013.

Rogers was sentenced to serve two consecutive terms totalling five and a half years at Southampton Crown Court yesterday (May 18) and banned from being a company director for ten years.

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John Cooper, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “Rogers used the cash to prop up his other failing businesses and contributed nothing to the public purse for years; shamelessly expecting taxpayers to fund a lifestyle that most people can only dream of.

“I hope this case sends out a clear message – crime does not pay; he will now have time to reflect on his actions, behind bars.”