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Bookkeeper used VAT fraud cash to live high life

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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. 

12th Jul 2021
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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.

Replies (15)

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By Self-Employed and Happy
13th Jul 2021 10:07

"Disqualified for 10 years"

In instances like this that needs looking at with the option of a lifetime ban.

Thanks (4)
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By Springfield
13th Jul 2021 10:35

“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.

Spare us the self-righteous congratulations please. The questions HMRC should be asking themselves are:

(1) How was it so easy for this person to access the HMRC "piggy bank"?

(2) Why did it take five years to bring this to a halt?

Apart from that - good work boys! OBE's in the post.

Thanks (10)
By Husbandofstinky
13th Jul 2021 10:23

All I can say is, just look at the accounts as submitted to Companies House and accepted.

An absolute disgrace.

There are no systems in place

Thanks (5)
Replying to Husbandofstinky:
Slim
By Slim
14th Jul 2021 10:03

Possibly some of the worst accounts I've ever seen and this guy is a bookkeeper?!

Surely these accounts should have flagged something at HMRC

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By Aprid
13th Jul 2021 10:29

Are HMRC too busy with vanity projects to spot a bookkeeper claiming £100k + per qtr input tax?

Then as a taxpayer we are supposed to be pleased when he gets "uncovered" (though he didn't even seem to be bothered covering very much at all) 5 years and £1.6m down the line.

He only incorporated in 2012 so presumably started fiddling the VAT almost from the get go.

Thanks (2)
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By memyself-eye
13th Jul 2021 11:16

All this corruption will be a thing of the past now that MTD is being rolled out.

and everyone at Wembley on sunday had bought a ticket....

and the moon really is made from cheese.

Thanks (1)
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By raju m
13th Jul 2021 11:23

Bizarre!! How can a bookkeeping business make so many VAT refund claims??

I would have expected a VAT visit after 2 or 3 VAT refund claims.

Incredible beyond !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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By David Gordon FCCA
13th Jul 2021 11:58

It shows how old I am.
When I was a callow youth my principal advised "Do not pay a book-keeper £10 per week to count £100,000 cash", or to put it more crudely, "You do not put a 35 year old man in room of naked 18 year old girls and expect him to behave"
HMRC in the interests of digital purity, and "Saving costs" set up a tax administration system, and are continuing along that path, which begs to be abused.
I am regularly and pleasantly surprised at how honest and diligent the overwhelming majority of taxpayers are in paying the dues on time and in order. I am even more surprised that Ali Baba's forty (cyber) thieves have not yet made mincemeat of HMRC's computer systems
Sadly HMRC persists in worshiping at the foot of the false god Digita, ignoring simple professional practical advice.
In the words of the psalmist, "It has eyes but it sees not, it has ears but it hears not"

Thanks (3)
Replying to David Gordon FCCA:
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By Sheepy306
13th Jul 2021 12:23

[quote=David Gordon FCCA]
"You do not put a 35 year old man in room of naked 18 year old girls and expect him to behave"
Wondering if this is an acceptable defence for a 44 year old man in upcoming divorce proceedings? Asking for a friend.

Thanks (4)
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By Paul Crowley
13th Jul 2021 13:58

7 years
If served full sentance then £300,000 per annum
Probably £600,000 with remission
Sounds like a bargain to me
Start all over again with MTD helping when he gets out.

Still comparatively trivial compared with Greensill

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By sanjay100
13th Jul 2021 18:32

HMRC are weakshit not to have poached Veekshit earlier. It is just S..T

Just epitomises how understaffed and weak HMRC are. The fraud squad needs strengthening - too many cases get away it and never get caught

Bigger scandal with hit later with the government schemes

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By Justin Bryant
14th Jul 2021 09:22

No-one here should be surprised. This sort of massive HMRC incompetence has been going on my entire career. The fact that their PR department effectively publicise HMRC's massive incompetence and dress it up as a massive success is equally unsurprising*. See: https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/why-does-hmrc-allow-the-vat-...

There should be a public inquiry into all this sort of stuff.

*Although admittedly I stated in the above link "You'd think HMRC would be too embarrassed to publicise the fact that their wholly inadequate monitoring of the VAT repayment system allows such a simple & large scale fraud in the 1st place!"

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By raju m
15th Jul 2021 10:04

HMRC is warning everybody that there is a small chance that frauds over a million pounds can be spotted by them after 2 years.

Hooray HMRC. The staff deserve big bonuses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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SMH
By ShakingMyHead
14th Jul 2021 12:09

I am gob smacked. They come after the little people and get look at the level and extent of this fraud ???!!! Just WOW! The learning here is that there's certain things that they can never get the money back for... private hospital treatment, air flights, holidays abroad, jewellery (goes missing) and event tickets.

But I totally agree with the earlier poster... I think over the coming months / years there'll be case after case of people who claimed bounce back loans and disappeared. I'm convinced that it's these loans and probably furlough that are fueling this current mad housing boom.

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By David Gordon FCCA
15th Jul 2021 13:07

Dear Slim
The problem is that the persons in substantial control of HMRC as with 95% of the general populace believe that computers "Think". They don't.
If you read the general scientific press, stuff written for laypersons, you will note that this is one of the biggest ongoing discussions regarding the Artificial Intelligence revolution.
The current consensus being that we are along way from "Thinking" computers.
So, you or I may look at a set of accounts and within twenty seconds, ask ourselves, "How the F*** could this person/ company spend £xxxx on wobbly blodgets".
The Persons in Substantial Control of HMRC, as a matter of policy, refuse to accept the worth of this uniquely Human skill. The consequential result being that said persons refuse to hire persons with this skill.

In my own mind I am certain that if those SC persons were to hire (Heaven forefend) a dozen or so semi-retired experienced public practice accountants to examine returns or accounts at random, they would quickly recoup their cost and some.
Fortunately HMRC will not so do. Not least because paying said experienced persons' market rates would upset the Civil Service mill grinders.

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