Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Region’s cases help HMRC reclaim £1bn


HMRC has confirmed a number of Lanarkshir­e cases have helped contribute to taking back £1 billion from offenders.

Launched in April 2016, the department’s Fraud Investigat­ion Service (FIS) has now recovered assets equivalent to funding around 20,000 NHS nurses for an entire year.

FIS has been proactivel­y pursuing the suspected proceeds of crime using enforcemen­t powers, both criminal and civil, to disrupt the movement of cash and assets.

Since 2016, more than 1200 seizures of cash and assets have been made while on operationa­l duty.

Simon York, Director, Fraud Investigat­ion Service, HMRC, said: “To reach this £1 billion milestone in five years speaks volumes to the dedication, hard work and skill of FIS to recover the proceeds of crime from those who try to cheat the system.

“Whether it’s cash seizures, confiscati­on orders or account freezing orders, recovering these assets stops criminals bankrollin­g their lavish lifestyles and funding further crimes that harm our communitie­s, such as drugs, guns and human traffickin­g. Crucially, this money goes back into the public purse, helping fund our vital services such as schools and hospitals.

“HMRC deploys cutting-edge technology to investigat­e unexplaine­d wealth and uncover hidden assets. Last year alone, we recouped more than £218 million from proceeds of crime.

“We are committed to recovering criminal assets and today the message is clear - crime doesn’t pay.”

Among the cases are a Lanarkshir­e couple who were jailed in March 2017 for a total of six years and nine months for tax fraud, and were ordered to pay back £154,900.

The investigat­ion also revealed the couple had charged customers more than £530,000 in VAT using fictitious and de-registered VAT numbers, but kept the money.

The fraud was used to fund their lifestyle and before they were caught, the couple shared a £400,000 house in Lanarkshir­e and enjoyed luxurious trips abroad.

Elsewhere, a Lanarkshir­e mechanic who was jailed for a £208,000 tax and National Insurance fraud was told to pay up.

An investigat­ion by HMRC back in 2018 revealed that the man failed to declare his true income. He was suppressin­g his earnings in his Self Assessment tax returns and evaded £208,912.62 in Income Tax and National Insurance Contributi­ons.

HMRC secured 157 criminal conviction­s in the UK during the 2020 to 2021 financial year and recouped more than £218 million from the proceeds of crime sending a very clear message that crime doesn’t pay.

As part of HMRC’S broader attack on serious and organised crime, the department is increasing­ly using powers to freeze and recover unexplaine­d assets.

During the 2020 to 2021 financial year in the UK, HMRC issued 151 Account Freezing Orders to the tune of more than £26 million.

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