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.