The top tax criminals of 2012 have been revealed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Serving a combined total of 155 years and 10 months behind bars, more than 30 of the tax cheats have been named and shamed in a Flickr campaign by HMRC.
Among them are a criminal gang which was jailed after being found guilty of one of the biggest ever alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK. The scam was worth £50m a year in unpaid duty and VAT and allowed the gang members to spend recklessly on high performance cars and luxury properties throughout Europe.
In another successful operation, two men were jailed for their role in a plot to smuggle nearly 24 million counterfeit cigarettes into the Midlands, after an investigation by HMRC. The conspiracy would have seen nearly £4 million drained from the UK economy through duty evasion.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said in a statement: "The government is committed to closing in on tax evaders. Collectively the 32 criminals have been sentenced to more than 150 years. Most people play by the rules and pay what they owe, but HMRC is cracking down on those who don't.
"We hope that publishing these pictures will help get across that it always makes sense to declare all your income, and tax dodgers are simply storing up trouble for the future."
See the tax dodgers gallery below...
Operation Name: Vara Sentenced in 2012: Chaudray Ali – 9 years Background: A jeweller who evaded more than £7million VAT by smuggling gold into the UK has been jailed for nine years today following an international investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The gold was bought in Dubai and brought into the country via Frankfurt to avoid VAT payments over a two-year period. More information can be found here bit.ly/12pjw9i Case Type: Duty (gold) Court Details: Kingston Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)
Operation Hazel Lamp
Operation Name: Hazel Lamp Sentencing: Paul O’Meara, Robert Doran, Patrick Gray, Martin Cleland, Mark Sadgrove, Wayne Stock and Matthew Neale – 24 years 6 months Background: A gang which described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys was jailed after a covert surveillance operation. The seven men were arrested after some were seen unloading over 10 million illicit cigarettes at a warehouse in Upminster after they had been smuggled into the UK from Dubai through the port of Felixstowe. The total duty evaded is estimated as £3.3 million. More information can be found here bit.ly/YRaA99 Case Type: Tobacco Court Details: Ipswich Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)
Operation Tousle 95
Operation Name: Tousle 95 Sentenced in 2012: Costas Georgiou and Andreas Apostolides – 10 years Total Case Sentencing (across several years): Andreas Apostolides, Costas Georgiou and John Ian Mason – 12 years Background: Two men have been jailed for their role in a plot to smuggle nearly 24 million counterfeit cigarettes into the Midlands, after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The conspiracy would have seen nearly £4 million drained from the UK economy through duty evasion. Unbeknown to the defendants, HMRC criminal investigators were aware of their plans and were watching as a consignment of 5.3 million counterfeit cigarettes were delivered to an industrial unit in Leicester in July 2009. More information can be found here bit.ly/12XXeNg Case Type: Tobacco Court Details: Ipswich Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)
Operation Name: Snowbank Sentenced in 2012: Mohammed Shabir Karim, Imran Bhatti, Kamran Bhatti and Raymond Bowden – 22 years and 6 months Background: Four men from have been jailed for evading over £4.5 million in VAT due on platinum trading. The men were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court after investigations by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that identified three north-west based companies importing platinum ingots from Italy and selling them on without paying the VAT due to HMRC. More information can be found here bit.ly/S457Z3 Case Type: VAT Court Details: Liverpool Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)
Operation Name: Operation Tulipbox Sentenced in 2012: Sandeep Singh Dosanjh, Navdeep Singh Gill and Ranjot Singh Chahal – 35 years Background: A criminal gang who carried out a £38m VAT fraud through a complex chain of fraudulent trades has been jailed for 35 years at Southwark Crown Court following a three year investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The gang set up a chain of bogus companies to trade fraudulently in EU emissions allowances – known as carbon credits. In the first case of its kind, the gang stole around £38 million through a complex missing trader fraud in a six-month period starting in January 2009. They were arrested by HMRC officers in a series of dawn raids in August the same year. The law has been changed to prevent carbon credit VAT fraud as a direct result of this investigation. More information can be found here bit.ly/MoFh0s Case Type: VAT Court Details: Southwark Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)
Operation Name: Rust Sentenced in 2012: Kevin Ramon Burrage, Gary Dennis Clarke, Michael Brian Turner and Davinder Singh Dhaliwal – 21 years 3 months Background: A criminal gang has been jailed for one of the biggest ever alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK. The scam was worth £50m a year in unpaid duty and VAT and allowed the gang members to spend recklessly on high performance cars and luxury properties throughout Europe. Gang ringleader Kevin Burrage, 49, owned Promptstock Ltd, a bonded warehouse in Essex. His brother-in-law, Gary Clark, 55, managed the warehouse which the pair used to import and export alcohol without paying a penny in tax. More information can be found here bit.ly/TwmBBV Case Type: Alcohol Court Details: Canterbury Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)
Operation Name: Reinforce Sentenced in 2012: Murugasan Natarajan – 6 years Background: A garlic smuggler has been jailed for six years after evading around £2 million in customs duty while importing Chinese garlic. The smuggler, who is now on the run, claimed he was importing ginger but HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators found that the containers used were transported at the wrong temperature. More information can be found here bit.ly/TGYr6I Case Type: Duty (garlic) Court Details: Kingston Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)
Operation Name: Reciprocal Sentenced in 2012: Roy Faichney – 4 years Background: A second professional tax adviser working for the Vantis Tax Ltd group were jailed for four years for his part in a £70 million tax fraud. Roy Faichney, Managing Director of Vantis Tax Ltd, had a “gentleman’s agreement” with his deputy, David Perrin – who was found guilty for his part in the fraud in January – to share the £4.5 million profit from a fraudulent tax avoidance scheme sold to wealthy customers, which left charities and Exchequer out of pocket. More information can be found here bit.ly/PQjTYd Case Type: Tax Fraud Court Details: Blackfriars Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)
Operation Name: Hippolamp Sentenced in 2012: Phillip William Robinson, Vincent Waller, Phillip William Hall, Christopher John Burns and Andrius Kochanauskas – 13 years 1 month Background: A criminal gang which set up a factory potentially capable of making up to 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and five million pouches of fake hand rolling tobacco a year were jailed. The plot, worth over £131 million per annum in lost revenue, was foiled when HM Revenue andand Customs criminal investigators swooped and closed down the fully equipped cigarette factory in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, before it went into production. During the raid in September 2009 they discovered that the gang were also planning to expand into making counterfeit alcohol. More information can be here bit.ly/SwCRAb Case Type: Tobacco Court Details: Nottingham Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)
Operation Name: Inertia Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 months Total Case Sentencing (across several years): Dilawar Ravjani, Tamraz Riaz, Zafar Chishti, Rajesh Gathani, Roshan Hussain, Lee Sellers, John McFarnon, John Conroy, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir, Marshall Boston – 66 years 5 months Background: Dilawar was the ringleader of a gang that led to him being sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment – the longest sentence to date given to an individual for this type of fraud. The gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billionn. However, in many cases the phones did not exist, including 250,000 which had not been launched in the UK. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT. One company run by Ravjani, Future Communications, embarked on a complex scheme to defraud by positioning itself in trading chains where it exported phones from a chain that started from a missing trader. At the same time it also acted as an importer, allowing other traders such as Unique Distribution – a sister company – to seek significant VAT payments. More information can be found here bit.ly/NlPyZW Case Type: VAT Court Details: Kingston Crown Court (Photo credit: HMRC/Flickr)