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By Connie Osborne Wednesday 06 August 2014 Updated: 07/08 22:48
A BLACKWELL man was jailed for four years and three months for his role in a tax fraud gang who stole more than £8million.
Neil Hughes, 48, of Linthurst Newtown, was one of 17 men and three women, from the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Manchester who were arrested by HM Revenue and Customs officers following a six-year investigation which revealed tax offences and money laundering linked to the construction industry.
A complex web of illegal activity involving more than 100 businesses was uncovered. Subcontractors were employed ‘off-record’ and the gang members pocketed Income Tax and National Insurance contributions due to be paid to HMRC.
Fake invoices, supposedly for providing labour, had also been created to claim VAT refunds to which the gang were not entitled.
A total of £95,000 in cash was seized from nine business properties in the West Midlands, £37,000 from addresses in Bristol and £38,400 from two business sites in Manchester, along with smaller quantities of US dollars and Euros.
All defendants have now been sentenced following three separate trials at Birmingham Crown Court including Neil Hughes of Linthurst in December last year.
The 48-year-old admitted cheating the revenue and was handed a four year and three-month sentence.
Colin Booker, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said the final sentencing brought to an end an investigation undertaken by a group of individuals who cared for nothing but their own financial gain.
"HMRC is investing more time and resources than ever into identifying fraud.
"Our work does not stop at sentencing, but at depriving those involved of the proceeds of their crimes.
"Confiscation action will follow, as we attempt to recoup some of the £8million the gang so shamelessly stole from the taxpayer."
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