Dundee DJ jailed for £20.5m VAT fraud
A Scottish DJ was sentenced to nine years in jail after being found guilty of five charges of VAT fraud adding up to £20.5m.
Dundee-based 40-year-old Shahid Ramzan, of Cortachy Crescent, was found guilty in December of tax evasion and money laundering after he was linked to a complex mobile phone scam.
This week, he was sentenced at Glasgow High Court to five years for the VAT charges, one year for the transference of criminal property and nine years for proceeds of crime offences, with the sentences to run concurrently.
Following an HMRC investigation, the court heard how Ramzan set up a number of companies in Spain and Scotland to trade in mobile phones across Europe.
The majority of trading was fraudulent, however, and the Spanish companies were run from Dundee addresses, with UK bank accounts used to launder proceeds from VAT frauds.
The Revenue reported that from January 2003 to July 2004, Ramzan traded millions of mobile phones, leading to some companies in the trading chains going out of business and leaving millions in unpaid VAT.
Passing sentence, Judge Lord Brailsford commented: “These were plainly serious crimes of dishonesty and the planning of these fraudulent schemes required intelligence over a protracted period of time.”
Ramzan owned three companies in Scotland, Cortachy Wholesalers Ltd, Happyhillock Ltd and Glam Entertainments Ltd and set up two companies in Barcelona to give the appearance that he was trading legitimately across Europe. He also ran a Curry in a Hurry takeaway.
When these companies ceased trading, the unpaid VAT was in excess of £4m.
The fraudster was charged with over £20.5m in money laundering offences, after HMRC investigations showed that about £186m had gone through the accounts of the two Spanish companies within eight months.
A confiscation hearing to recover the criminal proceeds of the frauds will follow in March.
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Pensioner convicted for anti-snoring VAT scam
In another tax fraud case, a pensioner from Leeds who set up fake companies claiming to sell an anti-snoring devices was jailed for a £280,000 VAT fraud.
68-year-old Anthony Van Jeffrey Newton, who made more than 100 false claims for VAT refunds, was sentenced at Leeds Crown court last week to two years in prison and disqualified as a company director for six years.
A Revenue investigation found that Newton had created a number of companies to sell an anti-snoring device, "The Snorestopper". When challenged by HMRC, he supplied a range of false invoices and receipts.
The Revenue established that Newton had stolen identities of other people and used them to set up fraudulent companies. He received a total of £147,000 in VAT refunds and tried to claim £143,000 further. Newton, who dubbed himself "Sir Anthony" on his credit cards, had registered company names to addresses in Wakefield, London and Leeds, lived in an apartment in Spain.