Fraudsters jailed for over 46 years for VAT fraud and laundering
Nine fraudsters have been jailed for over 46 years for stealing £34 million in VAT and laundering £87 million.
A Berkshire-based gang that stole £34 million in VAT and laundered £87 million after selling illicit alcohol have been jailed for more than 46 years.
Nine fraudsters orchestrated a missing trader (MTIC) VAT fraud and laundered the stolen tax, as well as the proceeds from selling illicit alcohol, from an office in Eton High Street, before moving to Windsor.
The group covered their tracks by creating a complex chain of paperwork detailing fictitious transactions, however, evidence was uncovered pointing to laundering through more than 50 bank accounts Britain, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Dubai and other foreign countries.
Officers caught the fraudsters red-handed when they installed covert cameras in one of the offices being used by the gang. Footage was shown in court of the ringleaders giving comprehensive instructions to other members of how to carry out the fraud.
Now, the gang of nine have been sentenced to more than 46 years in prison.
“This was a well-planned money laundering operation and tax fraud that stole millions of pounds of UK taxpayer money which should have been used to fund vital public services in the UK,” Richard Mayer, assistant director of Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said.
“Money laundering supports organised crime and is harmful to businesses, the public and society as a whole. Tackling this crime is a priority for HMRC and we will not hesitate to investigate those suspected of being involved.”
According to the tax authority, concerted HMRC compliance activity has seen UK VAT losses from MTIC fraud decrease from £3-4 billion in 2006 to around £250 million a year today.
Just last week, the authority announced a record £7.8 million fine for a money service bureau in London for breaching anti-money laundering regulations.