File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

London - A career criminal who used a series of fake identities was jailed for a £3.8million (about R60 million) VAT scam on Thursday after spending a decade on the run.

John Dalton, 54, used at least 12 different names to organise sham business transactions.

His bogus monikers included Jean Paul Dalton, Christian Delacroix, Anthony Fakrouni and Charles Cassick, according to police.

A series of mugshots released on Thursday show him in various guises. In one portrait he is pictured with a beard, although most of the time he does not appear to have bothered with employing artful disguises, instead relying on the force of his personality to portray a range of different aliases.

Dalton, originally from Canterbury, Kent, fled the UK after skipping bail in 2007. He was then prosecuted for fraud offences in France but went on the run again before he was due to start his prison sentence there and later resurfaced in Marbella, Spain.

Police finally caught up with him there in November 2017.

Dalton, born Paul Kemp, was sentenced to five years and four months at Inner London Crown Court on Thursday after he admitted conspiracy to cheat the taxman between January 2003 and December 2008.

Three of his accomplices in the fraud were jailed for a total of nine years and ten months in 2010.

Dalton teamed up with them to obtain credit for goods and fuel, and repayments of VAT in the names of businesses that had not actually traded.

He set up dummy firms to scam £3.8million from the taxman, claiming the money was for business deals abroad where his firms received no VAT from customers. Officers from Kent Police travelled to Madrid last January to bring Dalton back to the UK, after he was detained under a European Arrest Warrant.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Steve Payne of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘John Dalton is a career criminal who has cheated his way through life by creating numerous false identities and businesses in order to make money that he was not entitled to.

"I hope this case demonstrates that crime does not pay and that we do not forget about people who try to escape justice, no matter how many years have passed.

"We will now use legislation under the Proceeds of Crime Act to target Dalton’s assets and ensure he is not allowed to enjoy any further luxuries following his eventual release from prison."

Daily Mail