VAT fraudster jailed for 10 years

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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.

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About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist


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    16th Nov 2011 13:19



    Its always the tennis lessons that gives the game away...

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    16th Nov 2011 13:22

    why oh why don't ?

    Why don't these people use false identities.?.. you seem to be able to call yourself what you like at companies house.... and no one else will notice..mmm.

    No exit plan either... do they just believe they are bullet proof...or am I trying to apply intelligent logic to the extreeeeemly thick ?

    Are these even real stories or just government propaganda... as they just seem too stupid to be true ?



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    17th Nov 2011 11:23

    Let's look at it another way.

    Ex-cop. So he will know a few things. 10 years, he will be out in 5. How much did he actually get away with and how much has he got stashed. He could have taken a calculated path - with the exception of 10 years. He may have thought 7 out in 3-4. There are people out there that don't actually mind doing the time.

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    17th Nov 2011 14:35


    Presumably if the cash appears after he come out they will confiscate it unless he has used the special Government Swiss bank account scheme.

    Surprisingly they were on to this pretty quick (if you look at companies house) so presumably only made one quarters repayment and presumably that was made so they could chase the money....otherwise there is presumably no loss of tax.

    It does beg the question why the repayment was not held up... but this is back in 2005 when the perpetual gravy train was running on full power !

    I expect there are many more sensible criminals who applied the not emptying the bottle method of drinking from the parents drink cabinet... and have nicked up to a £1M...not been investigated because of the small number.

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    17th Nov 2011 16:13


    the goold old sherry bottle - I remember it well.

    The fact that he got 10 years leads me to believe that there's quite a bit of cash missing. Does anyone know how much he actually got away with?

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    17th Nov 2011 16:28

    Repentant sinners V's The good turned bad

    The law likes Repentent sinners or repeat offenders as they get discounts for bulk buying or pay in advance of future crimes...

    The good turned bad are not treated so well, policemen, accountants, barristers, MP's all get a rough deal......

    Still perhaps the sentences are comparable with the Great Train Robbery ?

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    18th Nov 2011 08:22

    vat to do about it?






    IF HMRC paid this muppet a penny in vat refunds when he started they deserve the losses.


    The figures quoted alone should have made their amstrad choke and say "you're aving a larf intcha" or whatever their po-faced letter wording is.


    i have often commented there are few instances where a new business genuinely should receive vat refunds, and 100% of these should only be paid after HMRCy receive complete kosher paperwork supporting the return etc.....




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    18th Nov 2011 14:10

    I was on holiday in Srilanka and reading the local paper and there was their local reminder it was time to do the vat...and said if you are due a refund, you can carry this forward and o/s it against future liabilities and if you havent got it back this time next year  ( after 4 more quarters) you lose it...

    Now if the government wants to fill the deficit it has, why doesnt it do this...someone email the chancellor and tell hm


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