Seven men have been sentenced to over 40 years in jail for their part in stealing £38 million from HM Revenue & Customs in a ‘missing trader’ tax fraud. A further two men will be sentenced in the next few weeks. The fraud centred on the import and sale of mobile phones and computer parts through a chain of companies, including Sky Computers UK Ltd of Middlesex and Maxro Technology Ltd of Surrey.
Two of the men pleaded guilty to the offences prior to trial, while six were convicted following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court. A ninth man who also pleaded guilty is currently serving a jail term for similar offences. Confiscation proceedings are underway and properties worth in excess of £2.5 million have been restrained.
The fraud, which took place in 2005, was uncovered by criminal investigators from HM Revenue & Customs.
Gary Lampon, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said “These men were relentless in their pursuit to steal vast amounts of public money. Their primary aim was to get rich quick and avoid detection by laundering the proceeds of their crime overseas. They enjoyed extravagant lifestyles, exclusive homes, performance cars and designer jewellery - ultimately at the expense of law abiding tax payers.”