Chigwell fraudster forced to repay £3.3 million or face eight more years in prison

Robert Waterman was investigated by HMRC after fraudulently claiming more than �4.5m in VAT repaymen

Robert Waterman was investigated by HMRC after fraudulently claiming more than �4.5m in VAT repayments. - Credit: HMRC

A fraudster who was jailed for a £5million VAT scam must sell his home, luxury cars, and expensive watches.

Robert Waterman is currently in prison after fradulently earning £5million by reclaiming VAT on empty boxes he sent abroad.

The 44-year-old was jailed for six years at Chelmsford Crown Court last October but now faces extra jail time if he doesn’t sell his assets.

In total, he must repay £3,354,173.68 in three months, or serve a further eight years in prison and still owe the money.

The court heard £2.3million will be recovered almost immediately from his restrained assets.

Waterman, of Vicarage Lane, Chigwell, created a fake trade in computer memory sticks to fraudulently claim £4,757,858 in VAT repayments between April 2013 and March 2015.

The dodgy businessman claimed to be exporting memory sticks to Dubai through his company Asset Innovations UK Ltd, so he could reclaim VAT, as they were being exported outside the EU.

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In fact, there were no memory sticks. Waterman was faking invoices and posting empty parcels to a PO Box address in Dubai.

He used the fake trade to make monthly VAT claims. Another £530,000 he claimed was stopped as HMRC investigators closed in on his fraud.

Last year, Waterman pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue, money laundering, furnishing false documents with the intent to deceive in relation to fraudulent VAT returns, operating a company while a banned director and absconding while on bail.

Diana Cottrell, from the CPS, said: “Robert Waterman used taxpayers’ money to fund a lavish lifestyle including expensive houses, fast cars and luxury holidays.

“By working with HMRC investigators to quickly freeze his assets and secure today’s court order, we have already recovered a significant amount of money for the public purse, with more to follow.

“In taking swift action we have ensured Waterman will not benefit further from the proceeds of his crimes.”

Now he must sell his assets including a £1.15 million home, a Land Rover Sport, a Lexus, a Mercedes, another property in Ilford and various expensive watches after a court ordered him to hand over the money.