Manchester

Manchester 'playboy' fraudster must repay squandered £1.6m

Raymond Nevitt Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Raymond Nevitt committed a complex fraud before living an lavish lifestyle abroad

A "party animal" fugitive has claimed he could not repay £1.6m he defrauded from the taxpayer because he had spent it on an "extravagant lifestyle".

Raymond Nevitt, 54, was jailed in 2016 after going on the run for nine years and using the money to fund "hedonistic" nights out, a court heard.

But he claimed he should be let off a demand to repay the cash because he had simply "run out" of money.

High Court judges refused Nevitt's appeal, which they deemed "absurd".

The judges said he had "squandered the money" during an international game of cat and mouse with police.

Their ruling means Nevitt, formerly of Hale Barns, Altrincham, must find the money or face up to another 10 years behind bars.

Nevitt fled the country under a false name in 2006 following a conviction for defrauding the taxpayer through his failing Trafford Park-based companies.

The court heard he lavished fortunes on "entertaining friends over from England" at the plush Spanish resort of Puerto Banus on the Costa Del Sol.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nevitt spent fortunes on "entertaining friends over from England" at the Spanish resort of Puerto Banus

He later moved to Germany, Thailand and then South Africa before being extradited and beginning a jail sentence of three years and nine months in 2016.

Nevitt's fraud was said to have netted £3.2m, which he said he spent on "an extravagant and hedonistic lifestyle, going out every night and day".

He said he had thrown himself into the life of "a profligate spender", often shelling out more than £2,000 on a single night out.

Challenging a confiscation order, Nevitt's lawyers argued he had no money at all and could not pay the money back.

The way he spent the money did not make any difference to his inability to pay, they said.

However, throwing out his complaints, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave said it would be "absurd" to reward Nevitt for his lavish spending on the run.

The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Ouseley, ruled: "It could not have been the intention of Parliament that criminals should be able to defeat the purpose of confiscation legislation and frustrate a confiscation order by simply squandering the money, let alone by supporting life on the run."

He added: "In any event, we are not satisfied as to the veracity of any of Nevitt's evidence to the effect that he spent all his ill-gotten gains.

"He is a person with a long history of dishonesty and deceit. His evidence was vague, self-serving and lacking in any proper detail."

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