Nigel Cranswick, a former policeman from South Yorkshire, has been jailed for over ten years today for his part in an attempted £330 million VAT fraud. He and six others, including his sister and brother-in-law, were caught by investigators from HM Revenue & Customs. They’d set up a business called Ideas 2 Go Ltd and falsely claimed they’d generated billions of pounds in turnover selling mobile phones and computer software - with around £330 million due in VAT repayments.
The business was launched in April 2005 and Nigel Cranswick left the police force three months later. He was contacted by HMRC compliance officers within days of registering for VAT - the business claimed a turnover of £527 million in the first six weeks of trading - and later emigrated to the Spanish town of Marbella after becoming concerned he was being investigated.
Paul Rooney, HMRC Assistant Director for Criminal Investigation, said “As a police officer Cranswick knew full well that he was breaking the law, yet; motivated by greed, he chose to overlook it for the opportunity of making what he wrongly assumed would be easy money. He now has to pay a very high price for his poor judgement and lack of integrity. This was a sophisticated fraud designed to steal hundreds of millions of pounds of tax, but it started to unravel when our investigations identified sales for more than 50,000 mobile phones, which the manufacturers hadn’t even begun producing in their factories.”