Businessman bought flash cars, horses and a luxury cottage in £2,000,000 tax fraud


Ben Richardson used his four companies to defraud HMRC (Picture: SWNS/Getty Images)

A businessman who evaded hundreds of thousands of pounds in tax used the money to buy expensive cars, horses and a luxury cottage.

Ben Richardson has been sentenced to six years in prison for defrauding the tax man of more than £2 million.

The 47-year-old, from Deal in Kent, ran a series of failing construction companies for nine years – and blamed his accountant for the ‘errors’ when they were discovered.

Using the cash he illegally saved by cheating on VAT returns and not paying tax, Richardson funded a lavish lifestyle, which included buying a house for more than £200,000.

Between October 2010 and July 2019, he ran four companies named SPR.UK, SPR Modula, Ilex Industries and Merrydale Enterprise Ltd.

All involved the sale of modular buildings to construction sites, and they were each used in various ways to defraud HMRC.

Richardson admitted to multiple tax evasion offences, fraudulently evading income tax and National Insurance contributions.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to disclose Construction Industry Scheme returns, which resulted in an additional sum of nearly £380,000.

He was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on March 3.

Richardson was sentenced to six years in prison at Maidstone Crown Court earlier this month (Picture: Martyn Hayhow/Getty Images)

His wife Dawn Richardson, 47, was involved in all four companies and received a 17-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.

At a previous trial she admitted to five fraud charges involving £708,212 and is now subject to a four-month tagged curfew.

Also linked to the crimes were Michael Brown, 59, a director at Ilex Industries, and Vickie Amas, Mr Richardson’s twin sister.

Brown, from Beverley in Yorkshire, was given a 20-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was disqualified from being a company director for five years.

Amas, who is from Birchington in Kent, was sentenced to ten months in jail, suspended for a year, after she admitted allowing her bank account to be used to deposit cash suspected to be the proceeds of crime.

Richardson ran his four failing companies for almost nine years (Picture: CPS/SWNS)

The judge, Recorder Edmund Burge KC, told Richardson: ‘You exploited what you believed was a weakness because the HMRC trusted businesses and individuals to declare and pay the taxes they owed.

‘Your motivation was greed as you wanted a more expensive and glamorous lifestyle than your legitimate income could provide and you used your various businesses as a mechanism to fund your lifestyle.’

Gurminder Sanghera, the legal manager of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘Ben Richardson did all he could to evade paying his fair share to society through his control of these companies.

‘He was determined to make as much money as he could to pay off his spiralling debts and fund his lifestyle and evaded paying more than £2m in tax.

‘Evading taxation is not a victimless crime. The public rely on the revenue generated by tax to fund essential services, like the National Health Service and education.’

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