A convicted fraudster who plotted to murder a former criminal associate after becoming jealous he had turned his life around has been jailed for seven years.
Paul Vass, also known as Paul Matthews and Paul Fox, hatched a plan to kill a businessman from Chronicle country who he had been jailed with in 2002 for their roles in a £14m VAT fraud in Suffolk.
Vass, 49, had been sentenced to eight years for his role in the fraud, while his associate was given a lesser sentence.
Following their release, the other man had launched a successful legitimate business in Bedfordshire, while Vass was languishing in low paid jobs in Norfolk.
Vass was convinced that the businessman, and another man who had been involved in the VAT fraud, had pocketed the proceeds of the original crime so went to Bedfordshire to demand his share of their ill-gotten gains – which he put at £2.25m.
He recruited a man from Norfolk who visited the businessman and demanded the cash. But after he refused to pay him, Vass began planning his revenge.
However, police became aware of the plot and arrested Vass at a hotel he was living at in Norfolk.
In his room, detectives from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit seized a contract which Vass was going to make the businessman sign – handing over his businesses and cars – and also weapons including a gun, knife and dagger.
Vass was charged with two counts of soliciting murder, making a threat to kill, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, having a firearm in a public place and having an offensive weapon.
He denied the charges but was convicted of all charges following a trial at Inner London Crown Court on Wednesday.
He was sentenced to a total of seven years on Friday.
He was also made subject of a Serious Crime Prevention Order banning him from contacting the intended victim and key witnesses in the case and also prohibits him from possessing, or seeking to possess offensive weapons.
Detective Inspector Pushpa Guild said: “This was a very real plot to kill which was drawn up due to Paul Vass’ mistaken belief that he was owed a considerable amount of money. If we had not been able to intervene the victim could well have suffered serious harm or been killed.
“Fortunately we became aware of Paul Vass’ plans and were able to arrest him before he could carry out his intentions.
“This case shows how seriously we take such allegations and that we will not tolerate people who think it is acceptable to use force or the threat of serious harm.
“We will continue to act on any intelligence we receive about such criminality in order to keep people safe and bring offenders to justice.”