Ring planning to deprive government of £300m in VAT smashed by HMRC after five-year operation
Four men have been jailed for a total of 11 years for their role in a “missing trader” VAT fraud ring centred on the mobile phone industry that deprived the government of £17 million in tax.
All four men pleaded guilty to charges of charges of Conspiracy to Cheat the Public Revenue.
The sentencing of the four follows the conviction of a further nine men, who were tried in December 2010 and January 2011. One more man is awaiting trial.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) broke the ring following a five year investigation.
Those involved in the ring were planning to carry out £300m million worth of VAT fraud, and had £5 million worth of VAT claims outstanding with the government.
HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation Gary Lampon said: “This was a complex and lengthy investigation, over five years, to unravel this multi million pound fraud by an organised crime gang.
“They used the money to fund extravagant lifestyles at the expense of the British taxpayer.
“Assets of £8 million have so far been restrained and confiscation proceedings are underway to reclaim the proceeds.”
Gurjit Singh, 45, was sentenced to two and a half years for laundering the proceeds of the fraud.
Shabir Anwar Ahmed, 52, was sentenced to four years for his role in running a front company for the fraud.
Muhammad Al-Numairy Raza, 37, and Bharat Muriji Odedra, 35, were both senteced to two and a half years for their role in companies used as fronts for the fraud.