Bookkeeper used VAT fraud cash to live high lifeby
A Croydon-based bookkeeper who used his firm to submit £2.1m of fraudulent VAT repayment claims has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Veekshit Ramoo was found guilty this month for submitting false VAT repayment claims totalling £2.1m and receiving repayments of £1.6m to fund his lavish lifestyle, HMRC has reported. The fraud spanned the period of 26 March 2012 - 31 December 2017
The VAT fraud
Ramoo made the false VAT claims through his bookkeeping company Ramoo Associates Ltd for VAT payments to suppliers that were never made. HMRC officers eventually rumbled Ramoo’s six-year fraud after checks of his VAT claims uncovered the extent of his scam.
“Veekshit Ramoo used taxpayers’ cash as a piggy bank to indulge his lavish lifestyle, love of fast cars and expensive holidays, but he came unstuck after investigators uncovered his lies,” said Richard Wilkinson, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service.
With confiscation proceedings underway, Wilkinson has stated that the tax authority will seek to recover the stolen money and is encouraging anyone with information about tax fraud or money laundering to come forward.
Using cash to fund #highlife
HMRC revealed that Ramoo spent more than £650,000 of the stolen money on long haul holidays and cars.
Investigators found that Ramoo spent £411,000 on luxurious cars, including a gold Audi R8 4.2 Quattro, an Aston Martin Rapide and an Audi Q7. Ramoo’s business bank accounts also revealed that he splashed the stolen cash on shopping trips to Harrods, private hospital treatment, jewellery and event tickets.
The bookkeeper was so brazen about his lavish lifestyle that he even posted pictures on social media of himself posing with his cars, using the hashtag #highlife.
The 32-year-old bookkeeper also used the siphoned cash to pay off a £131,000 mortgage held by his wife’s parents.
The fraudster lived a jet-set life, travelling to Mauritius and holidaying in India and China, spending £149,000 on flights and £112,000 on foreign exchange.
Arrest and sentence
It was on arrival at Heathrow airport in 2019 for a flight to Mauritius that Ramoo was arrested and charged with tax fraud and money laundering offences.
On 2 July Southwark Crown Court sentenced Ramoo to seven years in prison and found guilty of cheating the public revenue and on two counts of converting criminal property between 30 April 2014 - 8 November 2016.
In addition to his prison sentence, Ramoo was also disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.
Ramoo Associates Ltd made HMRC deliberate tax defaulters list in 2018 and was ordered to pay £728,997 on £1m of tax owed.