Gang jailed for £300,000 tax fraud
THE leaders of a gang of labourers have been jailed for attempting to steal almost £300,000 through fake tax claims.
The gang of eight submitted fake Self Assessment returns claiming they had paid too much tax and were due repayments totalling £296,193 between 2011 and 2015, a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation discovered.
Investigators found ringleaders Mark Thorpe, 39, of Inland Road, Erdington, Birmingham, and Aaron Hayers, 35, of Swan Street, Netherton in Dudley, recruited workmates to carry out the fraud and took a percentage of their claims.
Each gang member registered separately to do their self assessment returns online and made multiple amendments, each time increasing the amount they had overpaid to claim larger repayments.
Officers rumbled the men after similarities were noticed across the tax returns, such as all using the same employment details. Money for three recipients was paid into a bank account of an associate of Thorpe’s, who received a payment of more than £20,000 into a bank account.
A further payment of £32,705 was requested, but withheld by HMRC.
A total of £172,441 was paid out to the individuals, and further payments of £118,622 were withheld by HMRC.
Paul Fisher, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Services, HMRC, said: “Thorpe and Hayers led this gang in a relentless and sustained attack on the tax system. HMRC stopped their attempt to steal thousands more from the public purse, but they are now facing over five years in jail.”
Thorpe was sentenced to 32-month custodial sentence Birmingham Crown Court March 2, after pleading guilty the frauds.
Hayers was handed a 36-month custodial sentence after admitting a at on to guilt at tember.
Six of the remaining gang members were also convicted of submitting fraudulent returns:
Paul Hayers (brother of Aaron), 35, sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
Wayne Garratt, 46, sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
Colin Wakeman, sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
James Cowley, 28, sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years.
John Gilligan, 30, sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.
Bernard Richardson, 44, sentenced to ten months in prison, suspended for two years.
Gilligan and Richardson convicted after a trial, the admitted guilt.
Confiscation proceedings recover their criminal profits ongoing. the same court last Sep- were rest to are