12 Dec 2018
A criminal gang, lead by a 42-year old law student, falsely claimed £13 million in tax repayments over a scam in which they facilitated 900 bogus visas and laundered millions.
The group set up 79 bogus companies and created fake documentation which was used by Bangladeshi nationals in fraudulent visa applications.
In 2011, Home Office, however, noticed a suspicious pattern in a series of points-based applications for Tier 1 general and entrepreneur visas, said HMRC.
“Both routes had a significant financial requirement, with applicants earning points based either on previous earnings or by demonstrating they had access to a minimum of £50,000 to invest in UK business.”
“Case workers noticed that several applications were being submitted using slight variations on the same company names.”
The fraudsters created fake payslips and provided false information on around 900 visa applications to ensure eligibility for a Tier 1 visa.
At the time of the offences, Tier 1 (General) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas were both potential paths to obtaining settlement in the UK.
“They transferred money into clients’ bank accounts to make them appear well-paid employees, with one client, a worker at a fast food restaurant, able to claim annual earnings of almost £60,000,” HMRC explained.
“The money was paid back to the advisor the following month and, between 2008 and 2013, millions were laundered through the bank accounts.”
They also used these companies to attempt to fraudulently reclaim £13 million in tax repayments from HMRC over a six-year period.
The fraudsters, who were arrested in February 2013, were sentenced to a total of 31 years in November last month.
Three of the five-member gang absconded in July 2018 during the trial and are wanted by the authorities.
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