Over 30 of the UK’s top tax cheats are being publicised on Flickr as part of HMRC’s current tax evasion campaign.
Exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said, “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.”
The tax evasion campaign launched by HMRC is part of a £917m investment by the government to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud. It is aiming to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.
In August HMRC published pictures of the top tax cheats it was still hunting on HMRC on its Flickr pager, but an HMRC spokesman told economia there have been no convictions yet from this list.
In the Autumn Statement in December, the chancellor said he was protecting HMRC from further budget cuts so the department could focus on tackling tax avoidance and evasion.
The top cases in 2012 outlined below potentially totalled almost half a billion (£479m) in lost tax. HMRC isnt able to give an accurate figure due to estimates and ongoing yearly avoided tax.
Sentence: 6 years
Background: The garlic smuggler was jailed for six years after evading around £2m in customs duty while importing Chinese garlic. The smuggler, who was on the run, claimed he was importing ginger but HMRC investigators found that the containers used were transported at the wrong temperature.
Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston
Sentence: A total of 10 years and 6 months
Case: Part of a larger case that involved a 15-strong criminal gang, who attempted to defraud in excess of £176m in VAT through complex mobile phone trading scams.
The gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7bn. 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.
Phillip William Robinson, Vincent Waller, Phillip William Hall, Christopher John Burns and Andrius Kochanauskas
Amount: Over £131 million per annum in lost revenue
Sentence: A total of 13 years and 1 month
Background: All members of a criminal gang who set a factory with the potential to make 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and 5 million pouches of tobacco a year in Chesterfield Derbyshire. It was raided in 2009, with the gang planning to move into counterfeit alcohol.
Amount: Part of a £70m tax scam
Sentence: Four years
Case: Roy Faichney, was managing director of Vantis Tax Ltd, Faichney set up the fraudulent tax avoidance scheme together with his deputy, David Perrin, and sold it to wealthy customers over a period between 2005 and 2006. The £4.5m profit the pair made was collected in a bank account in Jersey. Faichney used his share to buy luxury properties and paintings. He also used the tax avoidance scheme to avoid paying tax on his £200,000 salary.The scheme was so successful that Vantis employees performed a celebratory song at their annual conference, adding new words to the tune of I will survive. These included the verse: “They should have changed that stupid law, they should have b***ered charity, but they have left that lovely tax relief, for folks to pay to me.”
Kevin Ramon Burrage, Gary Dennis Clarke, Michael Brian Turner and Davinder Singh Dhaliwal
Amount: Worth £50m a year in unpaid duty and VAT
Sentence: A total of 21 years and 3 months
Case: All part of one of the biggest alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK. The operation was run from a warehouse in Essex used to import and export booze with out paying a penny in tax, with profits spent on luxury properties and cars.
Sandeep Singh Dosanjh, Navdeep Singh Gill and Ranjot Singh Chahal
Sentence: A total of 35 years
Case: The group set up the ‘green’ VAT scam through 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 £38m through a complex missing trader fraud in a six-month period starting in January 2009.
Mohammed Shabir Karim, Imran Bhatti, Kamran Bhatti and Raymond Bowden
Sentence: A total of 22 years and 6 months
Case: The Liverpool men used three North West companies to import platinum ingots from Italy and sold them on without paying the VAT due to HMRC.
Andreas Apostolides, Costas Georgiou and John Ian Mason
Amount: potentially would have cost economy £4m through evasion
Sentence: 10 years
Background: Plot to smuggle nearly 24 million counterfeit cigarettes into the Midlands
Paul O’Meara, Robert Doran, Patrick Gray, Martin Cleland, Mark Sadgrove, Wayne Stock and Matthew Neale
Sentence: A total 24 years and 6 months
Case: The gang described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys.