VAT Fraud convictions
Eight people were recently jailed for their part in a £2 million VAT fraud. Those convicted included three financial advisers who provided significant assistance in the fraud which involved the establishment of a number of fraudulent companies that claimed to be selling zero-rated goods. This included businesses purported to be trading in animal feed, children’s clothing and zero-rated food stuff.
Between 1998 and 2004, 15 companies were established that made significant VAT reclaims for fake business costs. HMRC first became aware of the fraud when they attempted to visit some of these businesses for routine tax inspections. The case was ultimately handled by HMRC’s criminal investigators who discovered that a network of businesses was involved in the fraud.
The investigation included the analysis of handwriting samples and the computers of the accused. Those who have been jailed now face confiscation hearings to recover monies and assets resulting from the fraud.