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Forensic investigation uncovers ‘industrial scale’ false paperwork

Member: Helen Gregory

A gang that smuggled huge quantities of alcohol into the UK, dodging millions of pounds of VAT at the same time, has been jailed for a total of more than 34 years.

The ringleader, Shafqat, or ‘Chas’, Majeed was jailed for 10 years having been found guilty of committing the multimillion-pound VAT and duty fraud while “living a life of luxury and driving flash cars.”

An investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) revealed how the gang had used a sophisticated network of fraudulent businesses to create a trail of false paperwork ‘on an industrial scale’ to cover up the conspiracy.

Other gang members helped in the conspiracy by creating false business documents, submitting fraudulent VAT claims and inventing a network of businesses and supply chains.

This fictitious supply chain made it appear that the goods had been bought and sold through a series of companies before being sold on to the UK market by Majeed’s business, resulting in the theft of more than £4.8 million in VAT.

The network of businesses was also used to cover up the supply of smuggled alcohol and evade paying £11.9 million in excise duty.

As a spokeswoman for HMRC commented, the fraud deprived public services, the NHS and emergency services of £16 million, so confiscation proceedings are ongoing to recover the stolen tax.

Helen Gregory, Forensic Director at Milsted Langdon, said: “It is only right for HMRC to recoup money that should have been used for public good. However, anyone accused of benefitting financially from their crime should engage a forensic accountant.

“These professionals go into much more detail than the Crown’s investigators to assist defendants in exhibiting evidence to show the source of assets and cash claimed by the Crown.”

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