VAT fraud gang gets 32.5 years


Seven men have been sentenced to a total of 32.5 years in prison for their parts in a money laundering operation linked to mobile phone VAT fraud.

A total of £1.8 million in VAT was diverted by the gang in a single month in 2005 as part of a missing trader fraud, before the money was transferred to Dubai for the laundering operation.

The gang were also linked to drug trafficking, counterfeiting and credit card fraud. They attempted to hide their trail by gambling the proceeds of their crimes.

HM Revenue & Customs assistant director of criminal investigation Nick Burriss said: “The case has resulted in a number of serious criminals being sent to prison.

“This was a highly sophisticated and complex fraud against the taxpayer and enabled the defendants to fund extravagant and luxurious lifestyles including properties, performance cars and designer jewellery.”

A total of £350,000 in cash was recovered in raids across the West Midlands. For their parts in the fraud and money laundering, Harvinder Singh Batth was sentenced to a total of nine years, Jasbinder Singh Bedesha received eight years and Sukhjinder Singh Shergill will face a total of seven and a half years in jail.

For their roles in money laundering Suckjit Singh Birring and Jatinder Sing Salh received two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half years respectively. Zulfiqar Ali (12 months) and Harbinder Singh Sandhu (15 months) also face jail.