- A British fraudster used a flying instructor to escape the law in May, a court heard.
- Jamie Colwell, convicted of a £1 million ($1.3 million) VAT scam, booked a flying lesson under his father’s name and convinced the pilot to take him to northern France.
- Colwell and his father Brian, also convicted of fraud, then fled to Malaga in Spain.
- The pair were caught when Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) were able to track an affiliate to their address.
- The father and son have now both been given extra jail time for flouting their bail conditions.
A British fraudster came up with a creative way to flee the country after his passport was confiscated by the authorities, a court heard.
According to The Telegraph, Jamie Colwell was convicted of a £1 million ($1.3 million) VAT scam alongside his father, Brian, and they were both facing lengthy prison sentences.
However, while out on bail, the Colwells devised a plan to escape the law.
The court heard that Jamie hired a van to take his father to France and return with his passport so that he could use it to impersonate his father.
Jamie then booked a flying lesson in southeast England under his father’s name and convinced the pilot to take them to the Pas-de-Calais region in northern France.
Upon his arrival, Jamie met up with his father and the pair fled to Malaga in Spain.
- Jon Nazca/Reuters
The father and son duo came undone when they used the same van driver who had helped them flee the country to move furniture to the Costa del Sol.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) were able to track the van to an address in southern Spain where they were arrested in May.
Upon extradition back to the UK, Jamie Colwell was jailed for five years and three months, while Brian was given two years and eight months for fraud.
The Colwells were wanted for falsely claiming £1 million ($1.3 million) in VAT repayments. They had lied about building £14 million ($18 million) worth of new properties, which developers can claim tax back on.
Judge Jonathan Fuller said: “You were at large for five months. You deliberately flouted bail conditions in the way that’s been described.”
After admitting to breaching court bail conditions, the pair were given an additional six months jail time on top of their original sentences.