Gang jailed for £300,000 tax fraud

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

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

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