Ex-policeman Nigel Cranswick has been jailed for 10 years after setting up a fake technology firm to claim back £330m in VAT - the largest VAT fraud case of its kind.
The ex-South Yorkshire officer was the ringleader of a gang of six who conspired to cheat the public revenue by producing invoices for sales of mobile phones and computer software.
The businesses, Ideas 2 Go Ltd, hijacked the identities of legitimate companies and created fake customers and suppliers, producing billions in fabricated turnover over a very short time. The firm invented more than 6,000 fake business transactions, including the sale of six million mobile phones, in an attempt to make the repayments appear legitimate.
Cranswick set up the business and in just first six weeks claimed it had turned over more than £527m. He also claimed to have traded more than £47m before getting round to opening a bank account for the business.
Within eight months it had generated fake paperwork from more than £2.4bn worth of goods.