Men jailed as part of £176m phone fraud scam
John Dickens • Published 11 Jul 2012 13:00
THREE men from Slough have been sentenced for their part in a £176m complex phone fraud scam.
A 15-strong gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones - worth a whopping £1.7bn.
However an HM Revenue & Customs (HRMC) investigation revealed in many cases the phones did not exist.
The criminals used 5,700 fake business transactions to claim large amounts of VAT. The actual tax loss totalled £107m.
The final member has been sentenced meaning reporting restrictions have now been lifted.
Chris Martin, HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation, said: "Fraud on this scale causes immense damage to the tax revenues of the UK and the European Union.
"This was a complex and well-organised fraud which made a huge profit for the gang at the expense of UK taxpayers, but the dedication and techniques used by HMRC officers in this investigation resulted in the successful prosecution and convictions of these criminals."
Mehmood Khan Nazir, 34, of Cranbourne Close, and Umar Khan Nazir, 30, of Hull Close, both pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT and were sentenced at Kingston Crown Court to three years in jail on April 27.
The pair were also disqualified from being a company director for five years.
Waqar Bhatti, 33, of Cranbourne Close, pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading and was given a 12 month sentence, suspended for 12 months, at Kingston Crown Court on the same day. He was also handed 150 hours unpaid community service.
The ring leader, Dilawar Ravjani, 34, of Dubai and Uxbridge Road, Middlesex, was jailed for 17 years - the longest sentence ever given in the UK for this type of fraud - after being found guilty to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.
He was sentenced on June 20 at Kingston Crown Court.
The HRMC investigation started in May 2006 and the first arrests were made within three weeks.
HMRC also prevented the payment of fraudulent VAT repayment claims totalling £109m submitted by companies linked to the scam.
This article appeared in Local Berkshire 11 Jul 12