18 Jan 2019
The United Kingdom’s tax authority HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published a list of its top cases of 2018, which features money launderers, smugglers and a globe-trotting tax fugitive.
HMRC said its fraud investigations have led to 671 individuals being convicted in over the last 12 months for their part in tax crimes.
It has also charged another 919 individuals and taken on 746 new criminal investigations.
The agency said 2018’s top 10 prosecutions include:
- One of the UK’s most wanted tax fugitives, who spent more than 11 years on the run and owes more than £53 million, ending up behind bars after he was caught in Canada.
- Five fraudsters who falsely claimed £13 million in tax repayments, and facilitated around 900 bogus visa applications, who were sentenced to a total of more than 31 years in jail.
- An eight-strong tobacco smuggling gang, which brought more than two million illegal cigarettes into the North East hidden among fridge freezers, who were jailed for more than 26 years.
- A tax consultant who fled the UK before he could be arrested for masterminding a conspiracy to steal £6.9 million from construction workers’ pay packets going to prison. David Michael Hughes travelled to Chile, Dubai and Cyprus to evade justice and was eventually arrested at Heathrow airport after arriving on a flight from Istanbul.
- Father and son tax fugitives finally behind bars after being captured in Spain and extradited to the UK. The £1 million VAT fraudster son tried to avoid jail by fleeing to France in a light aircraft, while his accomplice father escaped by ferry before they both headed to Spain.
- A company boss who was jailed for trafficking fighter jet parts to Iran in violation of Weapons of Mass Destruction controls. Alexander George shipped military items to Iran, including Russian MiG and US F4 Phantom parts, sent through various companies and countries
- The manager of a well-known male stripping troupe , who was sentenced in her absence for tax and benefit fraud, who is behind bars after more than a year on the run.
- A church leader from Luton , who lied about charity donations to fraudulently claim £150,000 Gift Aid repayments, who was jailed for four years.
- A high-flying businessman, who masterminded a sophisticated £9.8 million international VAT fraud to fund his lavish lifestyle of flash cars and a luxury Spanish home, who was jailed for nine years. Jason Butler used money from the fraud to fund his collection of supercars including, a Ferrari Fiorano FI, a Ferrari 360, a Mercedes SL350, and a Lamborghini Murcielago. He also owned a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, speedboat, a luxurious home in Marbella and 96 properties in Leeds.
- A Hemel Hempstead company director, who funded his hobby racing high-powered sports cars in races across Europe through a £450,000 tax scam. Simon Atkinson was already under investigation by HMRC for anti-money laundering offences when officers unearthed the six-figure tax fraud, which he used to finance his passion for racing Lamborghinis in competitive motor tournaments.
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