Following on from a two year investigation HMRC has uncovered a £6.9 million tax fraud centred on the construction industry.
Over two and a half years millions were deducted from workers’ pay packets on major sites but never passed on to the Revenue. This included VAT, Income Tax, National Insurance Contributions and Construction Industry Scheme deductions.
Accountant Aquil Ahmed, 60, Victor Shearer, 43, a construction services company director; and Christopher Azzopardi, 36, a payroll administrator, all from Kent, defrauded HMRC by operating a sophisticated web of UK-registered companies and bank accounts. Through this web they invoiced clients for their workers’ wages, income taxes and VAT – but didn’t pay any of these taxes to HMRC.
This money was then laundered through a series of purposely created companies in Gibraltar and Belize and between 2010 and 2012 these payroll companies fraudulently withheld £7m in PAYE, National Insurance contributions, construction Industry Scheme deductions and VAT.
After a six week trial these three men will be sentenced this week at Maidstone Crown Court after being convicted of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.
Chris Gill, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HM Revenue & Customs, said: “HMRC uncovered this complex and sophisticated fraud, operated through a multitude of UK and offshore companies”.
“The fraudsters abused the tax system which is designed to ensure workers are paid correctly, and taxes are paid to HMRC.”
“This investigation shows that regardless of the resources of those involved, no one is beyond our reach.”
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